September 08, 2023

Congressional Art Competition showcases high school artists on Capitol Hill

Ethan Cheng, a senior at Crean Lutheran High School, was chosen as the winner for California’s 46th district, which is represented by Congressman Lou Correa. His piece, called “Companion,” was inspired by a popular movie that’s nearly 3 decades old and Cheng’s own experience on mission trips to places like Africa.

“I just came back from a mission trip and then I also watched 'Shawshank Redemption.' And I think, just both events really inspired me. I just fell. I felt really touched by both the mission trip and by the movie,” Cheng said. “It's just about having someone there for you, and I think that's just one of the biggest things I've learned throughout my high school years. You need someone there for you.”

“The problem I ran into was, what if there's no one there? And that's when I drew that small little mouse, just try to find comfort in something even if there's no one there,” he added.

The panel that chose the 46th district’s winner was composed of four judges, including local artists and art specialists from every corner of the district, according to Correa’s office. The judging process was completely anonymous.

"Ethan's work serves as a shining example of how exceptional technique, and an eye for perspective, can transport a viewer into a new world of understanding—of the art itself, and the message behind it," a Correa spokesperson said, adding that the judges of the competition were impressed with the "sophisticated angular approach" of Cheng's piece. "To them, it stands out as a body of work that is far beyond Ethan's years—but falls exactly in line with his artistic prowess and potential."

Each student who is chosen to represent their district is given two roundtrip tickets to Washington, D.C. to be honored for their accomplishments and see their work displayed at the Capitol. Cheng was on a mission trip during the ceremony, but says he is hoping to visit Washington to see his artwork sometime during the year. 

By:  Cassie Semyon
Source: Spectrum News1