A show of hands will represent the 25th Congressional District in a unique Washington D.C. gallery, after the winner of the annual Congressional Art competition was named Thursday.
Darryl Naito, a senior at Saugus High School, created the woodblock print of two hands in various positions that was the top vote-getter from a field of more than two dozen pieces in all different media, from pencil sketches, watercolors, acrylics, photographs and pen and ink.
A group of artists and community leaders judged the competition, with several votes being taken to narrow the number of finalists to five. A tie-breaker vote was cast by Margie Ann Clark, who works in the field office of Congressman Buck McKeon, and Naito’s piece was declared the winner.
Other finalists included Tyler Recchia from Valencia High, Rachel Poleman from Hart, Jessica DaBovich from Valencia and Lauren Mutschler of Agua Dulce, who attends LA County High School of the Arts.
Naito was surprised and proud, noting that this was something he’d put a lot of thought into before creating the work. He works in several different mediums, but says his favorite is watercolors, mostly because it is “fast” and allowed him to create a number of pieces for his AP arts class at Saugus.
The students were charged with creating a two-dimensional work in the theme “An Artistic Discovery.”
The Congressional Art Competition is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the nation, as well as in each congressional district. It began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, more than 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition.
The winning entry will be displayed for one year in the Cannon Tunnel, leading to the U.S. Capitol. Naito will be invited, along with one guest, to the unveiling of the exhibit and a reception for all winners in Washington D.C. in June. Two round trip tickets will be provided to the winning student by Southwest Airlines.
Along with being exhibited in the nation’s Capitol, Naito’s creation will grace the cover of the ATT Yellow Pages phone directory, to be published later this year. The four finalists’ work will tour various locations around the Santa Clarita Valley, including City Hall, the Westfield Valencia Town Center, concluding at the Arts and Literature Festival in December.