2021 Congressional Art Show
Each year I invite all high school students from all around the Fourth District of New Jersey to compete
in the annual Fourth District Congressional Art Competition (CAC), part of a nation-wide art venue
sponsored by the Congressional Institute.
Encouraged by art teachers and families, these ninth through twelfth graders must submit their original art
in the hopes of being chosen for an honor that includes having their work displayed in the United States Capitol
Complex alongside other winning entries from across the nation for approximately one year.
Despite daunting COVID19 restrictions, which were especially necessary at our annual host in recent years,
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton (RWJ-Hamilton), the 2020 and 2021 shows were great
successes. Much thanks goes to our talented students and their teachers. The links to the 2021 winners and
their artwork are below.
Latest: Smith announces 2021 winners Click here to view winners
Smith launches 2021 Virtual Exhibition. Click here to enter complete Gallery
All 2021 works were judged by professional artists Debbie Jencsik of Ocean County, N.J.; Jim Inzero,
also of Ocean County, N.J., and; Rich Thompson of Mercer County, N.J. Click here for a summary about the judges.
Once again, in 2021 I invited the judges to exhibit some of their own talented artwork, which will be included in the
I would like to thank all of the outstanding and creative students and art teachers who participated the
2021 show and in past contests. And I would also like to thank Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
Hamilton in Mercer County (RWJ-Hamilton) for its hospitality in offering to host the show in recent years, and Georgian
Court University for hosting in past years. In particular I am appreciative of the strong support and assistance of
RWJ-Hamilton President Richard Freeman and the RWJ staff, and Lakefront Gallery Director Phillip "Dutch" Bagley
and his colleagues, and hope to resume hanging student art again, post-COVID-19 restrictions, at RWJ's beautiful
Lakefront Gallery in 2022.
I encourage all aspiring high school-aged artists in my district, attending public school, private school
or being home-schooled, to submit their entries to this annual competition. Students may submit in coordination
with their school/art teacher or on their own.
Changes due to the coronavirus: Going 'virtual' again in 2021
The venue of the 2021 competition was again be a virtual gallery, with a possible slide show exhibition at
Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital-Hamilton (RWJ-Hamilton). Deadline for registration was March 29, 2021. A juried
exhibition was held in in May.
Unfortunately, once again my annual reception at RWJ-Hamilton to distribute Congressional Certificates to all
participants and announce winners was canceled in 2021 due to COVID-19. Certificates are to be delivered by mail, and
winners informed via phone. RWJ-Hamilton's gallery is also unable to facilitate any inquiries of art sale as it did in previous
years. Contact my office to reach the teachers for inquiries. As of Oct. 26, 2020, the Congressional Institute completed hanging
the original 2020 best-in-show works. Its 2020 national reception was held virtually, and a possible event might be scheduled in
Washington for the 2020 winners, but has not been scheduled as of Feb. 21, 2021. You can view the December 2020 Congressional
Art Competition Virtual Receptionby clicking here.
2021 Contest Rules and Forms
Please read both documents on competition rules:
2021 Congressional Institute Rules of Entry
2021 NJ-04 District Rules of Entry.
Other important documents:
2021 student release form
Listing form by high school for teachers
Guide to plagiarism
Am I in the 4th District? (Click here to see list of towns in NJ-04)
About the 2021 Judges
Registration opened Feb. 24, 2021. To register, please provide:
> the students' name, school, grade and contact information (email and cell number);
> name of artwork;
> medium and dimensions (example- charcoal, 12 inches by 24 inches; max. is 26 inches X 26 inches)
and email to email@example.com.
DEADLINE to register for 2021 competition: Monday, MARCH 29, 2021.
All entries in the form of a high resolution jpeg file (requested minimum 1200 pixels), should be submitted by this date,
accompanied with the completed 2021 student release form.
DEADLINE to submit jpeg photo of artwork and student release form: Monday, April 5.
INFORMATION ABOUT THE 2022 WILL BE POSTED ON THIS WEBPAGE BY MARCH 1, 2022.
Latest 2020 update:
Rep. Smith's 2020 winner's art now on display at U.S. Capitol
Best in Show Winner: https://www.congressionalinstitute.org/2020-winners/#SchoolofComplements
All winners across country: https://www.congressionalinstitute.org/2020-winners/
Smith Announces winners May 26, 2020
Click here to read announcement
Click here to see Judges' top picks
Smith Opens 2020 'Virtual' Art Gallery April 24, 2020
Click here to view Judges' own artwork
Click here to enter 2020 Gallery
Click here to read announcement about the 2020 show regarding the coronavirus update.
2020 & Previous Year Winners
Scroll down below to view last year and previous years winning artwork.
2020 Art Competition Winners
Best in Show- (PICTURED AT LEFT)“School of Complements,”
watercolor by Nicole Damiano, Grade 11, Wall High School
First Place Runner-up- “Nico,” on scratchboard, by Alanah Gaines,
Wall High School
Second Place Runner-up- “Mementos," oil on canvas by Kylie Frew,
Grade 12, Freehold Township High School
Third Place Runner- "Gray Engine," oil painting by Max Guo, of
Holmdel, Grade 10, High Tech High
Honorable Mention- "Son," in pencil, by Cynthia Zhang, Grade 11,
Holmdel High School
Honorable Mention- "In the Light," in acrylic by Oliver Jamison,
Grade 12, Freehold Township High School
Honorable Mention- "Dreamer," mixed media by Jacqueline Shen,
Grade 9, Holmdel High School
Honorable Mention- "Music Man," oil on canvas, by Grace Puharic,
Grade 12, Wall High School
|Best-in-show for 2020 is Nicole Damiano's "School of Complements."
| First Place Runner-up was “Nico,” on scratchboard, by Alanah Gaines, Wall High School.
| Selected for Second Place Runner-up was “Mementos," oil on canvas by Kylie Frew,
Grade 12, Freehold Township High School.
| Third Place Runner Up selected by the judges was "Gray Engine," oil painting by Max Guo, of Holmdel, Grade 10, High Tech High
| The judges awarded an Honorable Mention to "Dreamer," mixed media by Jacqueline Shen, Grade 9, Holmdel High School.
| Honorable Mention was awarded to "Music Man," oil on canvas, by Grace Puharic,
Grade 12, Wall High School.
| Honorable Mention was awarded to "Son," in pencil, by Cynthia Zhang, Grade 11, Holmdel High School.
| An Honorable Mention was given to "In the Light," in acrylic by Oliver Jamison, Grade 12, Freehold Township High School.
Click here to read an announcement of the 2019 winners and slide show from the 2019 show reception.
Click here to read the opening of the 2019 show
Best in Show- “Family Tree,” by Anna Effenberger, of Colts Neck, a 12th-grader at Ranney School. (charcoal on paper)
First Place Runner-up- “Biggest Catch,” by Meghan Cole, a 12th-grader at Wall High School. (oil on Masonite)
Second Place Runner-up- “Tea Time,” by Sarah Hendrickson, a 12th-grader at Wall High School. (white charcoal)
Third Place Runner-up- “The Watcher,” by Grace Puharic, an 11th-grader at Wall High School. (watercolor)
Honorable Mention- “Migration of the Nestingbacks,” by Catherine Epps, a 12th-grader at Steinert High School in Hamilton. (chalk)
Honorable Mention- “Bright Night,” by Stefani Stauffacher, a 9th-grader at Robbinsville High School. (Tempera paint)
Honorable Mention- “Furry Friend,” by Alexandria Lee, a 12th-grader at Wall High School, (scratch board)
Honorable Mention- “Tableau Self Portraits” by Alyssa Hagen, an 11th-grader at Allentown High School. (digital photography)
The 2019 Reception at RWJ-Hamilton Water Front Gallery:
| Above: From the left are RWJ-Hamilton Lakefront Gallery Curator Sheila Geisler; Second Place Runner-up Sarah Hendrickson, a 12th-grader at Wall High School; Best-in-Show winner Anna Effenberger, of Colts Neck, a 12th-grader at Ranney School; 1st Place runner-up Meghan Cole, a 12th-grader at Wall High School; Honorable Mention Alexandria Lee, a 12th-grader at Wall High School; RWJ-Hamilton Vice President Diane Grillo; Honorable Mention winner Catherine Epps, a 12th-grader at Steinert High School in Hamilton; Honorable Mention winner Alyssa Hagen, an 11th-grader at Allentown High School; Third Place Runner-up, Grace Puharic, an 11th-grader at Wall High School, and; Honorable Mention winner, Stefani Stauffacher, a 9th-grader at Robbinsville High School.
|Visitors to RWJ University Hospital-Hamilton enjoy the art work of students each year.