A work of art by a Pendleton High School student artist is going to Washington, D.C.! MacElle Kirsch, a PHS senior, is the winner of the 2021 Congressional Art Competition for Oregon’s 2nd District for her piece entitled North American Bobcat in the Snow. The piece is a paper collage measuring 11” x 8 ½”. The piece will be hung in the U.S. Capitol Building in D.C. for one year.
Each spring, a nationwide high school arts competition is sponsored by the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Artistic Discovery Contest (Congressional Art Competition) is an opportunity to recognize and encourage artistic talent from each Congressional District. It is open to all high school students grades 9-12, and the exhibit in Washington includes winning artwork from all participating districts around the country.
Kirsch said she enjoys creating art because “Nothing is more enjoyable than to form a mental image in one’s own mind, and then replicate it onto a physical canvas.” She said animals have been her preferred subject since she began drawing at a very young age. Kirsch said the bobcat artwork originated as an image from a game camera, shared with her by a fellow artist. When asked if she was excited about the honor, Kirsch said since she is a pretty reserved person, she responded with an appreciative smile and credited others with helping and encouraging her.
Alice Thomas, art teacher at PHS, has taught Kirsch for four years. She said Kirsch has an incredible work ethic and strong ability to focus on her projects, while always trying to improve her craft and challenge herself. “MacElle is original in her concepts, and comes up with unique ideas. She trusts her instincts, is extremely reflective and can talk and write about her art with ease and intelligence,” Thomas said. Kirsch’s art teacher said that research is a big part of her process, and she spends considerable time on planning sketches.
Kirsch said Thomas has been an excellent teacher and that her supportive attitude made high school art an enjoyable experience. “Mrs. Thomas taught me to recognize the intricacies in artwork: how the placement, pairings or even the color operates in conjunction to make the work visually pleasing. She understands the subjectivity to art and encourages her students to do their best–to simply enjoy whatever they make,” Kirsch said.
Locally, Kirsch was also recently celebrated as an artist. Another one of her paper collages, Sumatran Tiger in the Jungle, received Best of Show for Student Work at the current Open Regional Exhibit at the Pendleton Center for the Arts, which is open to all students in the region.
Thomas said she has greatly enjoyed teaching Kirsch during high school. “It’s been a joy, a pleasure and a terrific overall experience to be able to work with MacElle the last four years. I’m very impressed with this young woman, and feel honored and privileged to have been her teacher.”
Kirsch and another person of her choice will be provided travel to Washington, D.C., to view the student exhibit in person. She plans to attend BMCC after high school for pre-requisites and then transfer to a four-year university.
For more information about the Congressional Art Competition, please visit: https://bentz.house.gov/services/art-competition