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Congressional Art Competition features MSSD student work

Image: Oliver Lee, a member of the MSSD Class of 2011 and now a Gallaudet University freshman, won an honorable mention in the 30th National Congressional Art Competition for his artwork entitled, “UFO Invasion.” Lee used parts of the U.S. Capitol dome to create his spaceship hovering above the Gallaudet campus.

Oliver Lee, a member of the MSSD Class of 2011 and now a Gallaudet University freshman, won an honorable mention in the 30th National Congressional Art Competition for his artwork entitled, “UFO Invasion.” Lee used parts of the U.S. Capitol dome to create his spaceship hovering above the Gallaudet campus.

Image: MSSD junior Davante Kirk won an honorable mention for his multi-dimensional self-portrait.

MSSD junior Davante Kirk won an honorable mention for his multi-dimensional self-portrait.

Image: MSSD junior Diego Trejo said his work, “Search for Self,” is not Earth-bound; it is spiritual. “I used a slow shutter speed to give me a somewhat blurry effect which dissolves into the light,” said Trejo. He received an honorable mention.

MSSD junior Diego Trejo said his work, “Search for Self,” is not Earth-bound; it is spiritual. “I used a slow shutter speed to give me a somewhat blurry effect which dissolves into the light,” said Trejo. He received an honorable mention.

Image: Jessica Sandle (third from left), MSSD vice principal, congratulates the MSSD student artists--(from left) Belva Wolcott, Kerie Scurri-Burns, Joseph Mosley, and Mikail Baptiste—for their creativity and artistry. They are pictured here with the self-portrait created by MSSD student Katherine Fishbein, on display at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. (Photo: Philip Bogdan)

Jessica Sandle (third from left), MSSD vice principal, congratulates the MSSD student artists--(from left) Belva Wolcott, Kerie Scurri-Burns, Joseph Mosley, and Mikail Baptiste—for their creativity and artistry. They are pictured here with the self-portrait created by MSSD student Katherine Fishbein, on display at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport. (Photo: Philip Bogdan)

Every year Congresswoman Eleanor Homes Norton (D-DC) invites students from D.C. high schools to participate in the National Congressional Art Competition to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of young Americans. In 2011, 16 students from the Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) participated, marking the first time that deaf students have entered the contest in its 30-year history. Of those, three students--Davante Kirk, Oliver Lee, and Diego Trejo--each received an honorable mention, and had their work exhibited at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. Ten other students exhibited their work at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

The students created the artwork in art and photography classes lead by MSSD art and photography teacher Philip Bogdan. To encourage his students to develop their own original artwork concepts, he combines the technique of mind mapping with art history lessons. The students learn how to create a mind map, or a visual, non-linear diagram about themselves, to represent words, ideas, experiences, and interests. These maps serve as a starting off place for organizing a student's creative goal which they match with exploring the work of an artist from their art history lectures from whom they found inspiration.

"The students begin their work from the mind map, and continue to refine their designs at increasingly more sophisticated levels," said Bogdan. "The results of the Congressional Competition validate for our students that they can push themselves to take their work to the next level of professionalism."

All District of Columbia high school students, grades 8 through 12, are eligible to participate in the competition. "The MSSD student work showed great talent, one young man's work, Davante Kirk, in particular was incredible," said Thomas Akins, arts liaison for the Congressional Art Competition. "We had a distinguished panel of judges jury this year's 280 entries. The judges were master printer Lou Stovall, founder of Workshop, Inc.; Diane Kidd, early childhood program manager from the National Air and Space Museum; Malik M. Lloyd, founder of Art Information Bank; and Bryan Young, graphic designer at The Washington Informer."

The artwork was judged using the following criteria:

  • technique - skill and command of media
  • creativity - imagination and expression
  • aesthetics - critical artistic values;
  • originality - unique expression and interpretation;
  • artistic merit - superior expression and artistry
  • visual impact - qualitative effects of artwork.

Congresswoman Norton hosted an opening reception for participants at the Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C., on May 21 where the winners were announced. "With the display of tremendous talent at the art competition each year, you would think school districts across the nation are pouring money into art programs, rather than taking it out," said Norton in a press release about the competition. "Each year, students up the ante of the competition with their professional and high-quality submissions. I am always proud to help display the talent of District students."

On June 9, the work of ten of the MSSD students were among the 98 student entries exhibited at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in the historic lobby Terminal A. The exhibit moved to Terminals B and C and remained in place through July 29. All the top placing winners, including MSSD's Kirk, Lee, and Trejo, had a private two-person exhibit and reception at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. Trejo's work is the last of the three to be exhibited. His work will be on view at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce from January 18-February 1, 2012.

The MSSD students whose work was exhibited at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport were: Mikail Baptiste, Shezhana Belousova- Kim, Katherine Fishbein, Mary Ann Gardner, Amberlin Hines, Joseph Mosely, Emmanuel Ramos Rodriguez, Kerie Scurri-Burns, Michael Stamper, and Belva Wolcott.