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Cardoza announces annual art competition for local youngsters

WASHINGTON -- Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced, said high school students living in California's 18th Congressional District have the opportunity to display their artistic talent in the U.S. Capitol by competing in the annual Congressional Art Competition.

The nationwide art competition provides young student artists with an opportunity to showcase their work locally, as well as the chance to be recognized at the national level for their talent and creativity. Each member of Congress can choose one grand prize winner from his or her district. The winning entry from Cardoza's district will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol complex in Washington, D.C.

"The Congressional Art Competition is an opportunity for us to share the great talent and creativity of our youth in the Central Valley with thousands of visitors to the U.S. Capitol," Cardoza said in a news release. "I encourage all Valley high school students to participate in my 2011 competition, so we can show that we have some of the most imaginative and innovative young artists in America right here in the Central Valley."

The winning artist and one guest will be invited to a Capitol Hill awards ceremony this summer to honor young artists from around the nation and officially unveil their artwork in the Capitol.

All entries must be submitted by 5 p.m. April 28 to Cardoza's Stockton, Modesto or Merced district offices.

All artwork submissions will be on display for the public at the Mexican Heritage Center in Stockton from April 29 to May 1.

The winning artwork will be announced during a public reception at the center hosted by Cardoza on May 1 from 2 to 4 p.m. The winner will be selected by a panel of judges convened by Cardoza that includes professional artists and gallery curators.

Guidelines for Cardoza's competition:

Participants must be high school students residing in the 18th District. To view a map of the 18th District, go to and enter your ZIP code to find your U.S. representative.

Artwork must be no larger than 28-inch by 28-inch framed (framing not required) and two-dimensional.

Eligible forms of artwork are paintings, prints, drawings, collages, computer art, mixed media and photography.

The artwork must depict the Central Valley of California in some way (people, landscapes, landmarks, etc.).

A release form certifying the originality of the art piece must be signed by teacher and student. The forms are available at high schools and Cardoza's district offices in Stockton, Modesto and Merced, or go to gov/uploads/2011StudentArtRelease1.pdf.

The 2010 winner of Cardoza's art competition was Jose Hernandez, then a senior at Atwater High School. His digital photograph, titled "The Journey," depicts a honeybee pollinating a pink flower blossom. Hernandez's photograph has been displayed since June in the passageway leading to the U.S. Capitol from the Cannon House Office Building that thousands of visitors pass through every year.

Created in 1982, The Congressional Arts Competition's goal is to give creative students the chance to have their talents recognized nationwide. Since then, more than 650,000 students have participated in the competition and the works of thousands of young American artists have been showcased in the Capitol.