Press Release

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor Announces Winners of 2017 High School Congressional Art Competition

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Washington, April 10, 2017 | comments
Alonso High School senior student, Norys Curbelo-Bermudez, was awarded the top prize in U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor’s (FL14) annual high school congressional art competition with a beautiful reflection of a French horn titled, "Le Blues." Norys competed against her peers from public and private high schools in Hillsborough County. She will be on her way to Washington, D.C in June to display her artwork in the U.S. Capitol for one year and compete in the national competition. U.S. Rep. Castor’s congressional art competition awards ceremony was held yesterday at the Tampa Museum of Art in downtown Tampa.
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Alonso High School senior student, Norys Curbelo-Bermudez, was awarded the top prize in U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor’s (FL14) annual high school congressional art competition with a beautiful reflection of a French horn titled, "Le Blues." Norys competed against her peers from public and private high schools in Hillsborough County. She will be on her way to Washington, D.C in June to display her artwork in the U.S. Capitol for one year and compete in the national competition. U.S. Rep. Castor’s congressional art competition awards ceremony was held yesterday at the Tampa Museum of Art in downtown Tampa.

Norys was asked by her teacher, Ms. Cathy Swalls, to represent music in painting. “I was drawn to the French horn’s shine and glamour,” Norys said.

Student artwork will be on display at the Tampa Museum of Art through the end of this week, and includes creative works such as paintings, photography and sculptures.

“My congressional art competition comes at a time when modest investments in our nation’s arts face complete elimination,” U.S. Rep. Castor said. “President Trump’s budget proposal to ax the National Endowment for the Arts and National Endowment for the Humanities is misguided.  Many of Trump's draconian cuts in communities across the country will cost us jobs and harm our competitiveness."

“A new study by Americans for the Arts is being released this summer that will show the economic impact of arts in Tampa Bay and the thousands of jobs our regional arts industry supports. Initial indicators are that the results will show a significant increase in the economic impact of arts in Tampa Bay as well as the entire state of Florida. Investing in our arts, especially when it comes to arts education, means investing in our economy.”

U.S. Rep. Castor vowed to work with our arts and culture advocates and businesses to protect these investments in Tampa Bay.

This is Norys’ first time competing in U.S. Rep. Castor’s congressional art competition. It is the second time an Alonso HS student has won the competition’s top prize. “Le Blues” was created using acrylic on canvas – a common medium – but the steps Norys took to create the work are less familiar. She enthusiastically describes the process of digitally manipulating the image of the horn before painting it: beginning with a picture of the French horn, Norys digitally manipulated its color until she achieved the rich blue seen in her final piece. From there, she used the digital rendering as a reference for her acrylic painting. Norys hopes to study architecture in college using many of the skills she has learned while creating art pieces on her computer.

Ms. Swalls was also recognized yesterday and received the Pam Heilig Art Teacher Award, named in memory of the Jefferson High School art teacher who dedicated her life to opening her students' eyes to the beauty of art.

Other finalists were recognized with honorable mentions, Water Media Awards by the Florida Watercolor Society, Sculpture Award, Photography Award and Museum Sponsored Awards. Student winners for each category took home cash prizes. Norys’ recognition comes with a scholarship, professional framing provided by the Tampa Museum of Art and a trip to Washington, D.C., thanks to Southwest Airlines. A complete list of the student winners is provided below. Local artists make up the judging panel.

U.S. Rep. Castor has hosted the annual art competition since entering Congress in 2007 as a way to highlight the rich artistic talents of Tampa Bay’s youth. Across the country, more than 650,000 high school students have participated in similar art competitions with the goal of recognizing and encouraging artistic talent in our youth.

Photos of the competition winners and their artwork can be seen here.


2017 FL14 Congressional Art Competition Award List

Congressional Award - Norys Curbelo-Bermudez, Alonso High School, "Le Blues"

Pam Heilig Art Teacher Award - Cathy Swalls, Alonso High

Museum Choice Award - Myles Hoskinson, Plant High School, "Rusted Bridge"

Photography Award - Jessica Katz, Blake High School, "In the Eye of the Beholder"

Sculpture Award - Jacqueline Waggoner, Blake High School, "Toothpaste Still Life"

1st Place, Overall - Pierre Mont, Blake High School, "Ribbons"

2nd Place, Overall - Jacob Miller, Blake High School, "Let the Games Begin"

3rd Place, Overall - Ariana Santacruz, Blake High School, "Going Through the Motions"

1st Place, Water Media - Dianna Mendoza, Leto High School, "It's all in her head"

Art Teacher Award - Jacqueline Lucas, Leto High School

2nd Place, Water Media - Cristabelle Mercado, Leto High School, "Astra"

3rd Place, Water Media - Reagan Harwood, Sickles High School, "A Vegan's Delight"

Honorable Mention - Michelle Ezequelle, Steinbrenner High School, "Inkscape"

Honorable Mention - Isabella Fluker, Blake High School, "Floating Jellyfish"

Honorable Mention - Emily Lighthall, Steinbrenner High School, "Mirrors"

Honorable Mention - Jessie Yang, Plant High School, "Observations from the night I didn't go home"

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