DOWNEY - Two Downey students have been announced as winners in the 2009 34th Congressional District Student Art Competition."I am proud and honored to represent a district filled with so many gifted students, inspirational teachers and community-minded organizations and businesses," said Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-34), who sponsors the competition. "And I am especially proud and honored to represent the parents. Your nurturing love motivates your children and helps them to realize their full potential. I commend you for being their inspiration." Each art entry is judged on four criteria: originality, technical skill, artistic presentation and use of color and contrast. The first place prize went to Johnell Hipol, a Bellflower resident and senior at Mayfair High School. Her marker and pen piece, titled "La Vida," will be exhibited at the U.S. Capitol for one year. Hipol received a four-day trip for two to Washington, D.C. for the June 24 national exhibit opening and $500 spending money. She also won a $1,000 scholarship, a $200 gift certificate for art supplies, and $150 cash. Downey's Brittney Dreher, a senior at Warren High School, was one of five finalists who were also recognized. Dreher placed second with her painting, "Highlight of My Life." "Ever since I was young, one thing was clear to me - that my calling in life was to inspire others and express myself through visual art," Dreher said. "My personality is very much revealed in my art - my drive for perfection, attention to detail, and taste for colors." Dreher won a $750 scholarship, a $175 gift certificate for art supplies, and $100 cash. Warren High School received a $500 gift certificate for art supplies. "This painting is a depiction of my second passion - traveling," she said. "Traveling encourages understanding between dissimilar people and cultures, allowing people to gain knowledge of the world, humility, and an altered perspective of life. "In the painting, the map relates to traveling but also symbolizes the infinite options that life presents. Also, the picture that I am sketching within the piece represents the difficult decisions in life that shape individuals. The sketch itself reflects all the unique experiences brought back from my specific trip or journey. Seeing the world and all it has to offer is a great love of mine, and therefore, a 'Highlight of My Life." Julian Whitfield, a Downey resident attending Columbus High School, won an honorable mention award for his acrylic painting titled "Technicolor Vocal Vomit." Whitfield won a $250 scholarship, a $125 gift certificate for art supplies, and $100 cash. Columbus also received a $300 gift certificate for art supplies. "I believe music and art are my calling. I see myself making a career out of art because it's something I love and take very seriously," Whitfield said. "Right now, I am in a band called After the Broadcast and I create all the art for us, like album covers, T-shirt designs, and even redesign some of our band equipment. It makes our shows unique because people get to hear our music while I display my art. "Art is important in our society because it lets us express ourselves without limitations."
********** Published: May 8, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 3