Shakeh Aslanyan wins Congressional Art contest


Shakeh Aslanyan

Shakeh Aslanyan’s submission for the 2016 Congressional Art contest.

Ryan Ellinwood, Staff Writer

During the spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors the Congressional Art contest in which high school students nationwide are recognized for their artistic talent. After submitting her piece, “As I Am,” an oil painting of herself, senior Shakeh Aslanyan was awarded second place from the California District 28 submission pool early in April.

Fifty-three students from 22 schools participated in this year’s annual Congressional Art Competition Forum & Exhibit for the 28th District in California.

Aslanyan said that she and her art teacher Nyrie Gharibian chose what work to submit. “Honestly, we had no idea what to submit at first,” Aslanyan said. “We would talk about it almost every class leading up to the due date. Eventually we decided on the self portrait as Ms. Gharibian felt it was the strongest piece in my portfolio.”

Aslanyan’s artwork will hang in Congressman Adam Schiff’s Washington, D.C. Office for one year. A list of the 2016 submissions may be viewed here.

All the submitted art had to have met certain criteria including that the work must be two dimensional, no larger than 28 inches wide and 28 inches tall, and must be original in concept, design, and execution and may not violate any U.S. copyright laws. This year, however, there was no theme for the contest. Students also did not have to submit new work specifically for this contest.

Aslanyan did not have a problem with these rules. “We actually got really lucky,” Aslanyan said. “My portrait was only 16 inches by 20 inches so I didn’t have to worry about size. Originality and copyright are also things I don’t have a problem with as all the work I do is my own.”

The awards ceremony took place April 10 at Descanso Gardens. During the ceremony Aslanyan was shocked when she heard that she won second place. “I honestly did not expect to win at all because there were so many other amazing entries,” Aslanyan said. “When Congressman Schiff  called my name as the winner of second place, it took a second for it to sink in. My family had to scream at me for me to go up because I could not believe it.”