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'An Artistic Discovery' Showcases Young Talent

Yorktown High School student's work will be displayed at U.S. Capitol for one year.

More than 60 pieces of art created by high school students across the 8th Congressional District will be on display at the in Rosslyn through June 17.

The exhibition is the result of the annual Congressional Art Competition, which began in 1982 to give members of Congress a chance to encourage and recognize young artistic talent.

"Lady of Rain," a photograph by 18-year-old Ryan Carroll, a Yorktown High School senior, won the contest and will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol along with the winners from other congressional districts across the country.

The black-and-white photograph depicts a woman on a beach in Massachusetts looking across the water toward distant smokestacks. She's holding an umbrella, unfurled, which itself contains the portrait of a young woman. 

"It's kind of like a spur-of-the-moment thing," Carroll said. He took the picture when he and a group of friends headed to the beach while at a camp in Beverly, Mass.

"There's a lot of photographs that I've taken that fit a theme. This was more of a stand-alone photograph… It's the one that makes the most sense out of context."

Sydney Long, a Hayfield High School junior, won one of three runner-up awards for "Winter in Rosslyn," an acrylic-and-ink piece inspired by a tree near the Marine Corps War Memorial.

Long said she's shy, and was nervous the first time she entered the competition last year. Now, it's not so bad.

"It's nice," she said. "It's a new experience. I want to be an artist. It's something I want to do. It's really comforting to see everyone's art up here."

The crowd of parents and students at the Artisphere on Thursday let out a noticeable sigh of disappointment when it was announced that the contest's host, U.S. Rep. Jim Moran, couldn't make it. Moran was held up in Washington by a series of votes on the National Defense Authorization Act.

Moran spokeswoman Anne Hughes apologized for the congressman's absence as she made her way around the exhibition space, photographing students with their works of art at the congressman's request.

"It's one of his favorite events to do, to come talk to the students about their art and their inspiration," she said.

Carroll's piece will be displayed in the long foot tunnel connecting the U.S. Capitol with the Cannon House Office Building. Hughes smiled when she said the works would be displayed alphabetical by state, meaning Carroll's would be near one end and be much more likely to capture the attention of passersby.

"It will be seen by hundreds, if not thousands," she said. "It's a great honor. Ryan's extremely talented and he deserves the recognition."

The winners of the 8th District's Congressional Art Competition:

  • "Lady of Rain" by Ryan Carroll, Yorktown High School (winner; work will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol for one year)
  • "Unspoken" by Erin Daniell, Washington-Lee High School (2nd place; given $100 toward art supplies)
  • "Winter in Rosslyn" by Sydney Long, Hayfield High School (3rd place, given $50 toward art supplies)
  • "Self Portrait" by Catherine Beall, T.C. Williams High School (4th place, given $50 toward art supplies)
  • "Rain Drops" by Juan Felix, Arlington Career Center (Best of School)
  • "Still Life with a Flower" by Cayley Thacker, H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program (Best of School)
  • "Reflections" by Grace Montgomery, St. Stephen's & St. Agnes School (Best of School)
  • "Amanda" by Kyleigh Blair, Wakefield High School (Best of School)
  • "Time Goes Away" by Katherine Mach, West Potomac High School (Best of School)

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