Each spring the members of the U.S. House of Representatives sponsor a nationwide high school visual art competition known as "The Artistic Discovery Contest'." The purpose of the contest is to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district.
According to a press release: "Newly-elected Congressman Francis J. Rooney is proud to come from a Congressional District where the arts flourish and creativity abounds, and he is mindful of the role played by our schools, the Lee County Alliance for the Arts, the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs, the Naples Art Association and even outdoor art fairs and festivals such as the Estero Fine Art Show in developing young artists through the classes, workshops and art shows they conduct and sponsor."
The competition affords 9th through 12th graders the opportunity to share their artistic talent. Each student's artwork will be hung for display and judging in Room J-117/118 in the Rush Library on the Lee campus of Florida SouthWestern State College.
All entrants will receive a certificate of achievement. The second and third place artwork will be displayed in Congressman Rooney's district offices and the winning artwork will be displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol.
The first-place winning artist and one family member will receive two round-trip airline tickets to Washington, D.C., from Southwest Airlines so that they can attend the National Exhibit and Reception.
Local artist Leoma Lovegrove is one of three judges for the contest.
"This is a wonderful opportunity for young people to share their artistic talents and artistic vision with both their local communities and the nation at large," Lovegrove said. "I look forward to seeing and judging the entries."
Since the Artistic Discovery competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated.
"The congressman is eager to showcase the talent of our local youth and, toward that end, encourages 9th through 12th grade students living in Florida's 19th Congressional District to enter the contest. It's as easy as delivering a framed piece of their art to Mr. Rooney's office in either Cape Coral or Naples by 5:00 p.m. on Monday, April 10, 2017," the release states.
Artworks entered in the contest may be up to 26 inches x 26 inches x 4" inches, measured from the outside of the frame. Artwork will be accepted in the following categories: Paintings - including oil, acrylics, and watercolor; Drawings - including pastels, colored pencil, pencil, charcoal, ink, and markers; Collage; Prints - including lithographs, silkscreen and block prints; Mixed Media; Computer Generated Art; Photography.
All entries must be original in concept, design and execution. Entries must also be accompanied by two copies of a form entrants can obtain at francisrooney.house.gov/constituent-services/arts-competition.htm. There is no fee to enter the contest.
Lovegrove, Christie Marcoplos and Mercedes Price will judge the competition and the results will be announced during a 2 p.m. reception in the Rush Library at FSW Wednesday, April 12.
Congressman Rooney's Cape Coral office is located in Suite 308, 1039 S.E. 9th Ave., Cape Coral, FL 33990 (phone 239-599-6033). His Naples office is in Suite 105, 3299 Tamiami Trail, East, Naples, FL 34112 (phone 239-252-6225).