Nicole Damiano's "School of Complements."
The top winner—Best in Show—is recognized at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., and is displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol. The 2020 Best in Show from NJ-04 was Nicole Damiano's "School of Complements."
Nicole Damiano's "School of Complements."

Student registration open through March 29

HAMILTON, N.J. – Registration for Congressman Chris Smith’s Annual Congressional High School Art Competition and Exhibition is now open, with a planned virtual 2021 show to ensure the safety of students, parents, teachers and the many others who will participate in this year’s annual competition and exhibition.

Entrants must register by the March 29 deadline, and submit images of their work via email by April 5. The students’ work will be exhibited in an online gallery beginning on April 12, on Smith’s House of Representatives website, where Smith’s panel of professional artist judges will review the pieces.

“The 2020 show, which was held virtually for the first time, was a great success,” said Smith, who has hosted an annual student art competition for nearly 30 years. “After consulting with the judges and receiving input from teachers, we determined that holding a virtual show in 2021 will once again offer the safest way to allow student artists—who work hard in preparation for this annual competition—to display their natural artistic talents and acquired skills. COVID has stolen so much of their high school experience, we want to keep this traditional artistic venue going.”

High school art teachers and students should submit student works that meet the originality, suitability, size and other entry guidelines of the national competition. Click here for 2021 rules of entry, entry forms, a list of towns in the Fourth District and other important information.

“Our three professional judges, whose own talented artwork will also be on virtual display, are excited to review all the artwork and pick the winners from the virtual gallery,” Smith said. “The best-of-show will go on to be displayed in the Capitol complex in Washington later this spring.”

All the artwork entered into the NJ-04 competition this year will be displayed in the online gallery indefinitely. Winners—Best-in-Show, 1st, 2nd and 3rd place runners-up and honorable mentions, will be announced in May.

congressional art epps migration of the nestingbacksPICTURED: “Migration of the Nestingbacks,” by Catherine Epps of Steinert High School, took home Honorable Mention in 2019.

Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton’s Lakefront Gallery where the show is usually held, is eager to resume the show in the future, and Smith is hoping to bring the show back to Robert Wood Johnson in 2022.

Every year the Congressional Institute sponsors this national high school visual art competition to recognize and foster artistic talent in each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated, and more than 300 members of Congress sponsored 2020 shows. Currently, the Institute plans to accept the top winner of every congressional show in America and will receive winning artwork in May, with hopes to hold a subsequent reception, date TBD.

Students who place will receive ribbons, and all participants will be mailed Congressional Certificates.

To register, learn how to enter a piece of artwork or for more information about the 2021 NJ 4th District show visit Congressman Smith’s Congressional Art Competition web page. For additional information call Smith’s Constituent Service Center at (609) 585-7878.

congressional art ting memory lane

PICTURED: Memory Lane by Linda Ting of Holmdel was 1st Place Runner-up at Cong. Smith’s 2017 annual art competition.

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