Elmhurst teen wins congressional art contest, painting showcased inside U.S Capitol 

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Amber Sevilla celebrated coming in first place in Congresswoman Grace Meng’s Congressional Art Contest with her father, A. Redd Sevilla, who inspired the winning piece.
Photo courtesy of Rep. Meng

As part of the annual congressional art contest which has been held since 1982, one Elmhurst student took home first place in Congresswoman Grace Meng’s district this year. 

The nationwide “An Artistic Discovery” contest showcases the work of one winning student in each of the 425 congressional districts inside the nation’s Capitol building. Since the contest began, thousands of high school students have submitted paintings, collages, and prints.  

Amber Sevilla, who was born and raised in Queens, received first place for her acrylic painting “2:25 PM” which portrays a relaxed moment with her father. The 17-year-old explained that her piece, which is based on a photo she took last spring, highlights that seemingly mundane everyday experiences with family can actually be beautiful and extraordinary. 

“It’s such an honor to be chosen as the winner of Congresswoman Meng’s congressional art competition! I was absolutely thrilled when I found out that I won, and I’m so excited to soon see my work hanging in the United States Capitol,” said Sevilla. “It means so much to me to be able to give back to and represent my community in Elmhurst. 

In the fall, Sevilla will be a senior at the High School of Art and Design in Manhattan, and after graduation, she plans to attend an art college. In the long run, she hopes to work as an art educator or as a museum curator. 

Sevilla’s painting will be showcased in the nation’s Capitol alongside other winning pieces across the country for the next year.Photo courtesy of Rep. Meng

Sevilla expressed gratitude to her art teachers – James Harrington, Ashton Agbomenou and Laura Blau – for helping her hone in on her skills. But in particular, she thanked Isabella Bustamante, the Director of Teen Art Salon in Long Island City, for providing programs for local teens who are passionate about the arts and being the one to encourage her to enter the contest. 

“In the future, I want to be a supportive, caring and skilled art teacher, just like those who have always been by my side throughout my artistic studies in school, and winning first place in this competition is such an encouraging step in that journey,” noted Sevilla. 

Earlier this month, the congresswoman held a reception for students who submitted their artwork to the contest and their families. All 28 students who entered from 18 different high schools in District 6 were presented with certificates of congressional recognition. 

The second- and third-place winners will have their artwork displayed at Meng’s district office in Flushing for one year. 

The winning works were selected by a panel of Queens-based judges who work in the art field, including Daniel Bamba, Director of Arts Services at Flushing Town Hall, and Lindsey Berfond, Assistant Curator at the Queens Museum. 

“I thank Amber Sevilla for entering my art contest and I’m thrilled to congratulate her for winning this year’s competition,” said Congresswoman Meng. “The artistic talent shown by the young artists who took part in the contest is outstanding, and every year I continue to be impressed and inspired by the amazing creativity that goes into all of the artwork. 

Meng pointed out that Sevilla’s painting will be on display in the Capitol for one year, giving lawmakers, visitors, and maybe even the President ample time to see it.