Lemont Student's Artwork Off to D.C.
An aspiring young artist at Lemont High School could hardly believe she was the reason for a visit to the school last week by U.S. Rep. Dan Lipinski, D-3rd.
Lipinski was there to honor junior Brook Finger, 16, for winning the 2015 Congressional Art Competition for his district.
"It was really amazing," Finger said. "The fact that he wanted it a surprise, too, made it so much better."
The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 as a way for those in Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of the youth in their districts, according to Lipinski's office.
Finger created an acrylic painting that is a tribute to firefighters, she said.
"It's a picture of the pants rolled up with the hat sitting on top of it," Finger said, describing a firefighter's uniform. "There is purple and black bunting in the background that represents when they pass away and there is the American flag in the background."
Finger's art teacher, Ryan Hennebry, inspired her with stories of fallen heroes, she said. She created this piece in a couple of months, in between other assignments, she said. This allowed her time to work on the details. Hennebry then submitted the piece for the award.
"I congratulate Ms. Finger for submitting a powerful piece that honors our heroic first responders who bravely put their lives on the line every day, often for people they don't even know," Lipinski said in a release. "Our local firefighters play a critical role in keeping our communities safe, and it is an honor to have them represented in Washington through Brook's hard work."
The piece will be on display in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol for the next year, along with the artwork of other winners nationwide. Finger also will receive two round-trip airline tickets to attend the opening for the student art exhibition this summer in Washington, D.C., the release said.
Lipinski presented Finger with a certificate at a ceremony attended by her family and teachers, and also gave school administrators an American flag that had been flown over the Capitol building, it said.
Finger said she has minimized her involvement in other activities so she can focus on her art.
"I'm definitely pursuing this as a career," she said. "I've always been interested in art, ever since I was little."
So far, acrylic painting is her favorite medium. She also is taking a ceramics class and crafting. Her intention is to create a solid portfolio for college. She already is being pursued by at least one state college art program, she said.
Another Lemont junior, Victoria Annarino, was among five runners-up for the award. Her piece, which also has a firefighter theme, will be on display in Lipinski's Lockport office, according to Lipinski's office. The other runners-up included Southlanders Laura Monsreal, of Reavis High School, who will have her artwork displayed in Lipinski's Washington, D.C. office; and Tess Bowens, of Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School, who will have her artwork displayed in the Orland Park district office.
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