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Deerfield-Windsor student wins Congressional Art Competition

Kenneth Cutts, district director for the office of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, presented the first place award for the Congressional Art Competition to Abbie Hutchins of Deerfield-Windsor School on Thursday. Hutchins’ work will be on display with the winners from other congressional districts in a corridor that links the U.S. House office buildings with the Capitol.

Kenneth Cutts, district director for the office of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, presented the first place award for the Congressional Art Competition to Abbie Hutchins of Deerfield-Windsor School on Thursday. Hutchins’ work will be on display with the winners from other congressional districts in a corridor that links the U.S. House office buildings with the Capitol.

ALBANY, Ga. -- Abbie Hutchins, a junior at Deerfield-Windsor School, has been named the winner of the 2013 Congressional Art Competition from the Second Congressional District of Georgia.

The announcement was made at the downtown Albany office of U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, on Thursday.

Bishop was unable to attend due to a death in his family. Kenneth Cutts, Bishop's district director, appeared on the congressman's behalf.

"Nearly 400 members of the United States House of Representatives sponsor the competition in their districts throughout the country," Cutts said in his remarks. "It's a voluntary activity on the part of each member, and it is something Congress supports because we know how important it is to help young people develop and showcase their extraordinary talent.

"Our goal is to encourage young artists, promote art education and give recognition to the outstanding work that our schools are doing to enable young people to realize their potential."

Competition judges were George Carter, professor of visual art at Darton State College, John DiMino, assistant professor and art director at Darton, and Janice Rentz, a professional artist and art instructor in Albany. In all, 60 pieces were submitted from throughout the 29-county district.

Honorable mention recognition went to Kristen Blount of Jordan Vocational High School in Columbus for her "Self-Portrait" pastels piece. The second runner-up was Katie Bowden from Baconton Community Charter School for her watercolor picture "Robin with Sakuna," and first runner-up went to Sydnee Robertson from Central High School in Macon for her "Luminary" done in acrylic.

Each student was presented with a ribbon as well as a certificate of congressional recognition.

Hutchins' piece, an untitled work done in pencil, is based on the image of the character "Cosette" from "Les Miserables" that developed from a sketch she created.

"I'm really excited," Hutchins said. "I entered last year and got second place, and I've only been in art classes for a couple of years. I know how good everyone else is, and it is a compliment that it is paying off.

"It is very important to continue to have art. It is a different kind of outlet, and it helps you academically. It's very nice for me to go from thinking academically and logically to what I think looks good."

Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual arts competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Officials say the competition provides an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents.

Students submit entries to their representatives' offices, and panels of artists in each district select the winning entries -- which are then displayed for one year in a high-traffic corridor that links the U.S. House office buildings with the Capitol.

On knowing where her work will soon be displayed, Hutchins said, "It's scary, but it's exciting. It's a big deal."

All of the student entries from the district will be on display at Bishop's West Roosevelt Avenue office until May 10. The national exhibition will officially open on June 26.