On May 24 Congresswoman Marilyn Strickland (WA-10) announced Cara Kwon, a junior at Emerald Ridge High School in Puyallup, as the winner of the 2021 Congressional Art Competition for Washington’s 10th Congressional District. Kwon was selected by a panel of judges for her acrylic painting depicting her uncle comforting her grandfather in the hospital before he passed away from Alzheimer’s. Kwon’s painting will be displayed in the United States Capitol for one year next to the art of students from each district across the country. Congresswoman Strickland will host a virtual reception honoring all the participants from Washington’s 10th Congressional District today, Monday, May 24th 2021 at 4:00 PM PT/7:00 PM EST.
“After reviewing so many incredible submissions from students across the South Sound with our dedicated panel of judges, I want to congratulate Cara Kwon from Puyallup on her selection as the winner of the Congressional Art Competition in our district,” said Congresswoman Strickland. “The minute I saw Cara’s incredibly moving painting, I was struck by the level of emotion that was conveyed through her work. From the color choice to the focal point, every detail was meticulously painted. While Cara’s work exemplifies the pain and loss that so many Americans have experienced during this pandemic, it also conveys a sense of closure, comfort, and a powerful reminder to cherish every day with our loved ones and build deeper connections within our own communities.”
“Through the process of painting, I was able to find a sense of closure with the passing of my grandfather,” said Kwon. “I was able to feel comfort and gratitude that this pandemic had not been the cause and that someone was able to be with him. I wanted to highlight my grandpa’s hand being held by my uncle, who was the only person allowed to be there with him due to the COVID restrictions, by using vibrant colors on the hand and duller colors in the background so that the viewers could see that first and then their eyes would follow what he is holding. I wanted to share this to encourage people to reach out to their close ones as much as possible because once they are gone, they are gone.”
“Her painting stood out to me immediately because of her strong painting skills, especially in the way she handled the different textures of drapery,” said Heather Mathews, a professor in the Department of Art and Design at Pacific Lutheran University and competition judge. “It has strong links to post-Impressionist painting, which shows that Cara is aware of the history and development of painting, and she’s processed that knowledge, creating her own style. But the composition of the picture was the key factor in my high rating of this piece. The viewer is put in the position of the loved one holding the patient’s hand. I found this to be incredibly moving, and a very effective strategy, because unfortunately this is an experience far too many people have had in the past year. By using a very personal image, Cara has given us a picture that many can relate to. The narrative she included helped to drive this point home, and I’m grateful to her for sharing her story.”
This year’s panel of judges for Washington’s 10th Congressional District included Heather Mathews, Professor in the Department of Art and Design at Pacific Lutheran University, David J. Roholt, Professor of Art at Pierce College, and Scott Aigner, Assistant Professor of Art at Pierce College. There were a total of 23 art submissions from students across Washington’s 10th Congressional District. The Congressional Art Competition was launched in 1982 to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of young constituents from across the country with the chance to display their art in the United States Capitol.