By Annie Griffith
TROY — Troy High School students’ art has been in the halls of the school — and even shown around Troy at places like the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center. But this year, two female students, sophomore McKayla Travis and junior Lily Turner, have taken their pieces to an even bigger stage with the Congressional Art Competition.
Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Since the Artistic Discovery competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated.
Students submit entries to their representative’s office, and panels of district artists select the winning entries. Winners are recognized both in their district and at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. The winning works are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol.
The two pieces were more recently displayed at the Middletown Arts Center from April 15-20 as part of the Congressional Art Competition.
McKayla Travis titled her piece entered into the Congressional Art Competition “Smuck on a Shelf.” The acrylic painting depicts jars of Smucker’s jam on a grocery store shelf. Travis explained she was working on her piece for an impressionism unit through goods on shelves from Wal-Mart.
“Ever since I was little I always enjoyed drawing for fun,” said Travis. “It makes me feel good knowing somebody thought it was good enough to be recognized.”
Travis and Turner have always been interested in art, and both have had their other pieces shown at the Hayner before.
However, Travis would one day like to become a doctor for the military at a military base outside of the United States.
An ink drawing by Lily Turner titled “Day and Night; Split Skies” shows lettered tiles spelling out “Day and Night” with mountains, a sun and a moon in the distance. Turner said the inspiration for her piece was due to her recent fascination of the moon and mountains.
“I had no idea my art would make it so far, just being entered was something I only ever dreamed of,” Turner said. “This is the biggest thing I have ever achieved in my life, and I am honored.”
Turner said she has buckled down when it comes to art over the past five years. One day she would like to become either a graphic designer or an artist for Marvel, which is why she has recently become more focused on her art.