Press Release

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor Announces Winner of Her 2019 Congressional Art Competition

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Washington, March 25, 2019 | comments
Valerie Roberts, a senior from Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, was awarded the top prize at U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor’s 2019 Congressional Art Competition with her interpretive portrait drawing titled, “Gloss.” She is the first student from Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School to win the Congressional Award in U.S. Rep. Castor’s annual art competition. Valerie previously competed in U.S. Rep. Castor’s 2018 Congressional Art Competition and was awarded 1st place in the Water Media portion of the competition for her piece titled, “Woman from Hawaii”. An awards ceremony for the annual competition took place Sunday at the Tampa Museum of Art
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Valerie Roberts, a senior from Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School, was awarded the top prize at U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor’s 2019 Congressional Art Competition with her interpretive portrait drawing titled, “Gloss.”  She is the first student from Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School to win the Congressional Award in U.S. Rep. Castor’s annual art competition.  Valerie previously competed in U.S. Rep. Castor’s 2018 Congressional Art Competition and was awarded 1st place in the Water Media portion of the competition for her piece titled, “Woman from Hawaii”.  An awards ceremony for the annual competition took place Sunday at the Tampa Museum of Art.  View Photos here.

“The talented students across the Tampa Bay area inspire me, especially those who express themselves through art,” U.S. Rep. Castor said following her 2019 Congressional Art Competition.  “Arts are thriving in our community.  In Hillsborough County alone, arts and culture generates $433.2 million in economic activity and nearly 15,000 jobs are tied to the industry, according to a report issued last year by Americans for the Arts,” U.S. Rep. Castor said.

Valerie found inspiration for her winning piece while scrolling through a magazine, stumbling onto a picture and envisioning it drawn out with pencil and gel pen.  “I saw it and I loved the way the gloss captured the dimensions of her face, the skin looked so smooth.  I felt it would be a cool challenge to try and recreate that using a pencil medium,” she said. 

Valerie’s artistic journey began while she was in middle school.  She points to negative feedback she once received on her artwork and the positive reinforcement from her art teacher as inspiration for her hard work to master her craft.  Although she does not plan to pursue art professionally, Valerie hopes to join her passion for art with environmental biology to convey messages regarding environmental justice.  “I took advanced placement art classes in high school along with some traditional ones, but my teacher has done so much to push me to put my work out into the world.  She has always been very patient with me and allowed me to explore different styles of art and she gave me guidance throughout all of it,” Valerie continued.

U.S. Rep. Castor’s annual Congressional Art Competition gives Hillsborough County public and private high school students the opportunity to feature works of fine arts including drawings, paintings, photographs or sculptures.  This year’s competition had work submitted from 77 students from more than a dozen high schools throughout Hillsborough County.  The panel of judges is made up of local artists and experts from the Tampa Museum of Art, the Arts Council of Hillsborough County and more.  The Tampa Museum of Art will graciously display the student artwork through March 31.

Valerie received a scholarship and a trip to Washington, D.C. in June for a national art competition reception.  Her artwork will then be featured for one year in the U.S. Capitol alongside other winners for congressional art competitions from throughout the country.  Winners and their instructors of the other categories listed below received cash prizes.

Award Winners

  • Congressional Award – Valerie Roberts, Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School
  • Museum Choice Award – Genesis Morlabaez, East Bay High School
  • 1st Place Overall  – Miriam Janes, Bloomingdale High School
  • 2nd Place Overall  – Chloe McLeod, Berkeley Preparatory School
  • 3rd Place Overall – Dakota Olson, Howard W. Blake High School
  • Photography Award – Hope Ubanovsky, Berkeley Preparatory School
  • Sculpture Award – Spencer Meyer, Howard W. Blake High School
  • Pam Heilig Art Teacher Award – Madeilyn Ann Mitchell, Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School
  • Water Media Art Teacher Award – Jackie Lucas, A.P. Leto High School
  • Water Media 1st Place – Anya Maes, A.P. Leto High School
  • Water Media 2nd Place – Gloria Spearson, Howard W. Blake High School
  • Water Media 3rd Place – Makayla Luckey, Strawberry Crest High School

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Tags: Education