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Press Release

Castor Announces 2024 Congressional Art Competition Winner

TAMPA, FL – Out of 91 submissions from Tampa Bay area high school students, Gibbs High School Senior Marcus Rideout was awarded the top prize at U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor’s annual congressional art competition with the watercolor piece, “Big Sky Orange Blossoms”. Marcus’s artwork will be featured for one year in in the U.S. Capitol alongside other congressional art competition winners from across the country. He piece will be entered to compete in the national competition as well.

“Art is a personal expression. With my piece, I illustrate how moving across the country has impacted my childhood,” said Marcus about “Big Sky Orange Blossoms.”

Marcus continued, “I moved from Montana to St. Pete and in my work, I include the valley of Mount Helena to the waters of St. Petersburg – but I fear I am losing my past, my bones.”

Marcus credited his inspiration to the incredible variety of arts across the Tampa Bay area, noting that there are many opportunities for young artists to be on display in professional settings while growing as an artist. In additional to plentiful chances to showcase art, Marcus shared his instructors at Gibbs High School play a pivotal role in his learning and appreciation for the arts. Marcus’s art will be featured in a solo exhibition, ‘Leave this Life Behind’, in the Morean Arts Center in St. Petersburg April 12-24.

A photo of Marcus’s art is available here.

“The arts have always enriched our lives and served a great unifier for people and communities, and it is important now more than ever to find joy and beauty in the world around us. The students’ pieces are honest and personal, and also shed light on their real-world challenges. I’m inspired by the expansive talents of Tampa Bay area students and look forward to Marcus representing our community in the national competition this year,” said Rep. Castor.

St. Petersburg and Tampa are blessed with a broad range of artists and art lovers that provide a huge economic benefit. The Arts Council and Americans for the Arts demonstrated this recently in their detailed study into the economic impact of nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties. The results of the study found nonprofit arts and culture generate $682.2 million in economic and social benefits, supports 11,292 jobs and generated more than $ 134.9 million in local and state government revenue.

Photos of the students' art can be found here.

Photos from the Art Show can be found here.

U.S. Rep. Castor’s annual Congressional Art Competition is an opportunity to celebrate the art and artists of Hillsborough and Pinellas County public and private high school students. The contest features drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures. This year, 91 entries were submitted into the competition from high school students throughout Hillsborough and Pinellas County and 48 were chosen to be displayed in the Tampa Museum of Art. The panel of judges is made up of local artists and experts from the Tampa Museum of Art and Tampa Bay Businesses for Culture and the Arts. Winners and their instructors of the other categories listed below received cash prizes along with framed art pieces and tickets to the Tampa Museum of Art. 

In FY23, Rep. Castor secured $1,986,353 in federal dollars for Hillsborough County Public Schools Community Arts Education Initiative to provide a high-quality arts education program in collaboration with the Tampa Museum of Art and the Straz Performing Arts Center for students in underserved communities - enhancing the student educational experience and introducing students to potential career paths in the arts.

The exhibition featuring the student’s artwork will be on display at the Tampa Museum of Art through Sunday, April 14. For more information, visit their website at:

Award Winners

Congressional Award- Marcus Rideout, Gibss High School, Big Sky Orange Blossoms

1st Place Overall- Abigail Green, Cambridge Christian School, Magpiety

2nd Place Overall- Devin Perry, Blake High School, Horned Beetle

3rd Place Overall- Gianna Untied-LeonardBloomingdale High School, Mind Numbing

Museum Choice Award- Olivia TuckerSt. Petersburg High School, Travels

Photography Award- Henry Peter, Gibbs High School, Wild Fire

Sculpture Award- Abigail Anderson, Carrollwood Day School, Whales on Impact

Ann Sklar Scholarship Fund- Emerson Lewis, Alonso High School, Something Old, Something New

Honorable Mention- Kai Layton, Wharton High School, A Natural Reconnection,

Honorable Mention- Siena Van Beynen, Lakewood High School, Handle With Care

Honorable Mention- Jade Little, Blake High School, What Breaks the Dragon’s Back

Honorable Mention- Grace Qiang, Hillsborough High School, Labyrinth