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
Encouraged by art teachers and families or on their own, 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.
The 2023 NJ04 show will be held at the Hackensack Meridian Ocean University Medical Center in Brick, NJ. The latest
information, including deadlines, on the 2023 show will be posted below on Feb. 28. Final rules from the Congressional
Institute and Rep. Smith's accompanying supplemental rules are posted below.
LATEST on the 2023 Competition:
Press release announcing the 2023 winners
Photos of all the winning art work
Virtual Gallery of all entries
New this year: I invited the art teachers of the high school students who entered the competition to exhibit their work
along with my judges:
Art Teachers Virtual Gallery
Judges Virtual Art Gallery
|2023 top place "Best-in-Show" winner is Wall High School 11th- grader Cassidy Savage's entry "Queen Clover," done in oil on Masonite. Her art teacher is Jill Alexander.
Best in Show (pictured): “Queen Clover” in oil on Masonite by Cassidy Savage
First Place Runner-up: “Service and Joy” in colored pencil by Marisa
from Wall High School;
Amitie' from Wall High School;
Second Place Runner-up: “Hiding in Plain Sight” in pen and ink by Sara
Nugent from Wall High School;
Third Place Runner-up: “Sage Advice” in colored pencil by Katie Cortese
from Wall High School;
Honorable Mention: “Fossil Feeling” in Conte crayon by Caiden Gilmartin
from Freehold Township High School;
Honorable Mention: “Height of Attention” in oil paint by Emma Kuster from
Manasquan High School;
Honorable Mention: “Brooklyn Brownstones” in chalk pastels by Lily
Ducharme from Manasquan High School; and
Honorable Mention: “Breakfast” in oil by Scarlett Scillia from Point Pleasant
Borough High School.
About the Show:
2023 Contest Rules and Forms
Please read both documents on competition rules:
Congressional Institute's 2023 Rules of Entry
Congressional Institute's Helpful Checklist for Submissions
NJ-04 2023 District Rules of Entry.
Other important documents:
2023 Congressional Institute student release form*
Listing form by high school for teachers**
Guide to plagiarism
*Please submit the Student Release form with an attached jpeg high-resolution (for an online gallery) file of the artwork which includes in the
jpeg file name, the student’s name, school and title of the piece by April 5, 2023.
**Teachers, please submit the above Teacher's Student Participation form to my office by Friday, March 24, listing
each student that intends to participate in the competition.
This year, the competition and exhibition is set to be held between Tuesday, April 4th through Monday, May 1. The judges,
each accomplished artists in their own right, review all submissions each year, and a Best-in-Show as well as runners-up designated as First,
Second, Third and Honorable Mentions will be named. All of the works will be on display at Ocean University Medical Center through May 1
during normal hospital visiting hours. Visitors are subject to the New Jersey General State Visitation Guidelines for Hospitals.
The winners will be announced and congressional certificates presented by the hospital and Rep. Smith's Office at a ceremony and reception in May.
Am I in the 4th District? (Click here to see list of towns in NJ-04)
About the 2023 Judges
TO REGISTER: Please register by March 24.
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)
Any inquiries and submissions can be emailed to Jeff Sagnip (Jeff.Sagnip@mail.house.gov) or Kate Hoh
(Kate.Hoh@mail.house.gov). Call for additional information.
Initial DEADLINE to register for 2023 competition: March 24, 2023. (Late entries can be accepted through March 30)
All entries must be submitted framed according to competition rules above, plus a high resolution jpeg file
(requested minimum 1200 pixels), should be submitted by this date, accompanied with the mandatory,
completed 2023 student release form.
DEADLINE to submit jpeg photo of artwork and student release form: Wednesday, April 12.
Send applications, jpegs and inquiries to: NJ4artcomp@mail.house.gov
Best in Show:
Wall High School
"Color Blind Fruit"
acrylic on canvas
Click here to see entire Virtual Gallery
Click here to see top place winners
- Best in Show: “Color Blind Fruit” in acrylic on canvas by Joseph Sambade from Wall High School;
- First Place Runner-up: “A Duck in a Lake” in paper collage by Jessica Bajcic from Red Bank Regional High School;
- Second Place Runner-up: “Drowsy Duo” in white charcoal by Davin Kaminski from Wall High School;
- Third Place Runner-up: “Product Placement” in acrylic on canvas by Paige Contreras from Wall High School;
- Honorable Mention: “Party City” in 35mm photography by Mary Wood from Red Bank Regional High School;
- Honorable Mention: “Gilbert in the Sun” in oil on canvas board by Fiona Gourlie from Red Bank Regional High School;
- Honorable Mention: “Still Life” in pastel by Jake Visco from Freehold Township High School; and
- Honorable Mention: “Café with Nono” in colored pencil by Nelly Bianchi from Wall High School.
From 2021 competition:
Smith announces 2021 winners Click here to view winners
Click here to enter complete 2021 Virtual Gallery
The seven 2021 winners selected by the judges are:
- Best in Show- “Within the Shadows,” in charcoal and white charcoal, by Samantha Nemergut, Grade 11, Wall High School
- First Place Runner-up- “Sonder,” in acrylic paint by Kendall Walsh, Grade 12, of Red Bank Regional High School
- Second Place Runner-up- “City Reflection,” in oil paint, by Emily Dee, of Red Bank Regional High School
- Third Place Runner- “Side Street in Neon,” in digital media, by Kathryn Johnson, of Red Bank Regional High School
- Honorable Mention- “The Colors of Water,” digital photograph, by Sophia Giordano, Grade 12 of Red Bank Regional High School
- Honorable Mention- “Rollercoaster of Life,” in charcoal, by Evelyn Kunycky, Grade 10 of Wall High School
- Honorable Mention- “Blood Oranges,” in watercolor, by Averi Noel, Grade 10, of Wall High School
PICTURED: Samantha Nemergut of Wall High School won top honors of
Best-in-Show with her charcoal drawing “Within the Shadows.”
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.
Rep. Smith's 2020 winner's art 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.