Thursday June 01, 2017
Each spring, the Congressional Art Competition is sponsored by members of the U.S. House of Representatives. An opportunity to recognize and encourage high school artistic talent, the state’s competition was recently hosted by Representative Peter Welch at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. South Burlington High School (SBHS) sophomore Piper Turosak received the Choice Award from Rep. Welch for her illustration titled “Organic or Industrial.”
“This award means so much to me in that someone else is able to appreciate what I do. I am incredibly grateful and humbled by this opportunity,” said Turosak.
The young artist’s piece features two intricately designed illustrations, which show a contrast of organic and industrial figures. Inspired by “the diversity of things in the natural world and the human development of industry,” Turosak explained, “The two elements illustrated in my work are meant to display both the difference and relation of manmade objects in the natural world. To elaborate, the industrial image is represented as a horse because they were the drive to the industrial revolution.”
“Piper is a very talented young artist,” says SBHS visual arts teacher Lisa Divoll-Painter, who describes Turosak’s work with pen as exquisite. She continues, “She is a driven artist that fills her sketchbooks with rich, detailed, lovingly crafted images. Her work is often rooted in natural and organic themes. Since she is just a sophomore, I think we will have the pleasure of seeing many more beautifully crafted pieces in the future.”
According to Divoll-Painter, Turosak is a student in her advanced art class, something Turosak wholeheartedly appreciates and credits, “My art class played a huge role in my motivation for this and pushed me to come up and realize my ideas through sketch assignment prompts.” She adds, “Ms. Divoll-Painter is one the best art teachers I have ever had, she’s fun and inspiring, pushing me to take on new challenges and improve myself. For the short time I have known her she is one of the people I can look up too.”
The Congressional Art Competition was initiated in 1981 by then Representative Jim Jeffords to celebrate and encourage the artistic talent of young people from across the country. High school students submit entries to their U.S. Representative’s office and panels of local artists in each congressional district select the winners. The winning pieces are then displayed for one year in the tunnel between the U.S. Capitol building and the three House office buildings - a route traveled daily by members of Congress, their staffs, and tourists from all over the country.
“I am so impressed by the talent and creativity of these young Vermont artists,” Rep. Welch said. He added, “Their work continues Vermont’s storied tradition of artistic excellence and is a reflection of our state’s first-rate art programs.”
For her part, Turosak states that the recognition gives her the motivation to “push forward and pursue the arts.” She notes that attending the competition in Montpelier was inspiring as well, “One of the best parts of attending this show was being able to see the work of people across Vermont. I think that the diversity of art is part of what makes it so beautiful and fun.”