Kinga Sowa’s painting among 230 pieces in the Congressional Art Competition |

Kinga Sowa’s painting among 230 pieces in the Congressional Art Competition

BRECKENRIDGE – An acrylic painting by Kinga Sowa, a senior at Summit High School, will be on display at the County Commons beginning March 17.

The exhibit is part of U.S. Rep. Mark Udall’s United States Congressional Art Competition, which attracted more than 230 applicants from high schools throughout the state.

Chase Erickson, an Eagle Valley High School senior, garnered first place in the competition with his drawing called “The Slave.” He won three round-trip tickets to Washington, D.C., where he will be recognized in a national ceremony. His winning drawing will be displayed for a year in the Cannon Tunnel leading to the Capitol.

Sowa’s painting depicts a girl floating between the earth and sky.

“I titled it “Float’ because the girl is levitating between the sky – a symbol of the world of dreams, imagination, spirituality and feelings – and the ground, which symbolizes reality and everyday life,” Sowa said. “The stars in the sky are arranged as constellations that represent zodiac signs of people who are important to me. The painting is an expressive self-portrait filled with meaningful symbols.”

Competition was divided into five media categories: photography, drawing, painting, computer graphics and mixed art. First-, second- and third-place winners were selected in each category and in each high school grade level. More than $5,000 in prizes will be awarded to the winners, said Carter Ellison, spokeswoman for Udall’s office. Each participating school will receive $290 for art supplies.

Teacher Harriet Hoffman selected Sowa’s painting for the competition.

“Kinga’s painting is a self-portrait that has beautiful, expressive brush strokes and intense personal subject matter,” Hoffman said. “Kinga is a talented painter who puts a great deal of technical care into her paintings.”

Sowa’s painting was the only one submitted from Summit County, but Ellison said she was impressed with the turnout from students in Udall’s mountain counties. Udall represents all of Summit, Clear Creek, Gilpin, Eagle and Grand counties, and parts of Adams, Boulder, Jefferson, Weld and Broomfield counties, in the Second Congressional District.

“This was the first opportunity we had to invite the mountain schools since the (federal) redistricting,” Ellison said. “We sent the packages out in January, and the students only had a month to do the work. We’re delighted with the turnout.”

The traveling exhibit will include artwork from 13 high schools. Select pieces, including Sowa’s, will be featured in Summit and Eagle counties.

Udall said the competition was designed to recognize creativity in teens.

“Creativity exists in every individual,” he said. “It requires only the proper conditions in order to develop. When given the right tools, students can develop creativity and learn flexible ways of solving problems.”

“Creating art is important because it lets me express myself and make something beautiful out of it,” Sowa said. “Art gives me the opportunity to expand my horizons and develops my imagination. It also gives me a better understanding of myself.”

Udall will hold a community meeting on the arts and honor the winning artists at a reception at the Omni Hotel in Broomfield today.

Artwork will be on display outside the library at the County Commons from March 17 to April 14.

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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