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Art Competition

"An Artistic Discovery"
Congressional Art Competition for High School Students

**Due to COVID 19, plans for this year's High School Art Competition need to be changed.  With schools closed, it is difficult to determine if there is art available for submission.  If you are a High School Student in the First Congressional District of Massachusetts, and are interested in submitting art for the Congressional Art Competition, please send an email to jeanne.ahern@mail.house.gov to express your interest, and that you have a submission that is available.  You will then be kept up to date on the progress and details of the competition.**


“An Artistic Discovery” is the annual nationwide Congressional High School Art Competition, sponsored by the Congressional Institute and coordinated by Members of the United States House of Representatives in their districts. Each year, Members of Congress conduct local art competitions in their districts. The winning piece of art from each district becomes part of an impressive display on national exhibition in the United States Capitol.

“An Artistic Discovery” provides Members of Congress and the public the opportunity to encourage and recognize the rich artistic talents of young Americans at a time when local cultural organizations and arts-in-education programs are being curtailed. I am sure that you will be quite impressed with the artwork that becomes part of the exhibit in the Capitol. You can view the most recent winners here.

2018 Winner

ARTIST: Jacob Amaro

SCHOOL/GRADE:  Putnam Academy


2019 Congressional Art Competition Information

For Students and Teachers


General Guidelines

  • The competition is open to high school students only. Exceptions may be made for schools that have 7th through 12th grades on one campus. Teachers and/or students should verify their eligibility with Congressman Neal’s office if there are any questions.
  • Artwork must be two-dimensional.
  • Each piece can be no larger than 26” x 26” x 4” (26 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 4 inches deep), including the frame. If your artwork is selected as the winning piece, it will be required to be framed and must still adhere to the size guidelines. Framing guidelines apply only to the ONE winning piece the will be sent to Washington, DC.
  • Artwork cannot weigh more than 15 pounds.
  • Artwork accepted mediums are as follows:
    • Paintings: oil, acrylics, watercolor, etc.
    • Drawings: colored pencil, pencil, ink, marker, pastels, charcoal (It is recommended that charcoal and pastel drawings be fixed.)
    • Collage: must be two dimensional
    • Prints: lithographs, silkscreen, block prints
    • Mixed Media: use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolor, etc.
    • Computer-generated art
    • Photography
  • Each entry must be original in concept, design, and execution and may not violate any U.S. copyright laws. Any entry that has been copied from an existing photo or image (including a painting, graphic, advertisement) that was created by someone other than the student is a violation of the competition rules and will not be accepted. For more information on copyright laws, please review “A Guide to Copyright and Plagarism."
  • Each School may submit up to 20 entries.
  • Entries must be received in Congressman Neal's Office by the Tuesday before April vacation.
    • Artwork must be delivered to either the
      • Springfield District Office (300 State Street, Suite 200, Springfield, MA) or the
      • Pittsfield District Office (78 Center Street) prior to that date, or…
    • We will pick up your entries! Your artwork must be ready and in the School office on the Tuesday before April vacation (in the morning).
    • Please contact Jeanne Ahern to let us know if you need a pick up.
    • If you are home schooled or attend outside the district, please call or email and we will make arrangements.
      • Jeanne Ahern (413) 785-0325, jeanne.ahern@mail.house.gov 
  • Artwork will hang in the Capitol for the entire year of the exhibition and cannot be returned to the students earlier. Students should, therefore, submit artwork they will not need for other purposes.​

Suitability Guidelines

  • As outlined in these guidelines, the final decision regarding the suitability of all artwork for the Congressional Art Competition exhibition in the Capitol will be made by a panel of qualified persons chaired by the Architect of the Capitol. While it is not the intent to censor any artwork, we do wish to avoid artwork that is potentially inappropriate for display in this highly travelled area leading to the Capitol.
  • Artwork must adhere to the policy of the House Office Building Commission. In accordance with this policy, exhibits depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature are not allowed. It is necessary that all artwork be reviewed by the panel chaired by the Architect of the Capitol and any portion not in consonance with the Commission’s policy will be omitted from the exhibit.


Student Information and Release Form

  • Each entry must include a Student Information and Release Form.
  • The information requested on the first page of the form should be provided as thoroughly as possible. Students should list their mailing addresses, if different from their residential addresses. The form requires a description of the artwork, which should be detailed, clearly identifying the major elements of the work. For example, “self-portrait” or “a picture of two people” would be unacceptable, due to the large number of works that would fit that description. “A painting of two people; the one on the left wears a green sweater and khaki pants; the one on the right wears a black shirt and a striped skirt. A dog sits at their feet” is an example of an acceptable description.
  • The second page of the Student Information and Release Form contains a legal release and a certification that the artwork is original in design and execution. The student, an art teacher, and a parent or guardian must sign where appropriate. Entries without signed originality certifications and artwork releases may not be accepted.
  • A TYPED copy of the Student Release Form, signed by the teacher, a parent or guardian, and the student, and must be securely attached to the back of the artwork to certify the originality of the piece.

Framing Guidelines for Congressional Exhibit

  • Framing regulations apply only to the WINNING artwork that will be sent to Washington DC. 
  • If your artwork is selected for display in the Congressional Art Competition exhibit, it must be delivered in a frame and the artwork can be no larger than 26 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 4 inches deep, including the frame. 
  • All winning artwork must be enhanced and protected by a sturdy frame.  Frames must be made of wood or metal.  No plastic “snap on” or metal frames that can easily come apart are to be used.
  • All works, including frame, should be no larger than 26 inches high, 26 inches wide, and 4 inches deep including the frame, and 15 lbs. maximum weight.  Ensure that the framer is informed of the size and weight limit and double check the size before shipping the entry.
  • Due to wide participation of Member Offices, framed works larger than the specified dimension will be turned away.
  • All artwork, except painting in oil or acrylic on canvas, must be protected by Plexiglas or glass.  Plexiglas is preferred.  If glass is used, special packing and shipping arrangements are encouraged to ensure that the work is not damaged if the glass breaks. 
  • Matting can enhance or detract from a work of art and should be carefully selected
  • The artwork will be hung from vertical wires.  Two sturdy eye hooks or the equivalent MUST be attached at the top right and left sides of the back of the frame for hanging to prevent the work from leaning forward or hanging unevenly.  Wire between the hooks is not needed for hanging.
  • Do not attach labels, ribbons, etc., to the front of the piece or underneath the glass or Plexiglas.
  • Please indicate which side is up by making arrows pointing towards the top on the back.
  • Each work must have a label with the information securely applied to the back:
    • Student Name
    • Address
    • Phone Number
    • Email
    • Title
    • Medium
    • Member’s Name
    • State & District
  • Please use the largest label you have available.  This information should be typed.