CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Eight young artists have been selected as winners in the annual Congressional Art Competition, which is on display in the Balcony Gallery of the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston through April 8. The exhibition is sponsored by the West Virginia Office of Secretary of Education and the Arts (WVOSEA) and the West Virginia Division of Culture and History (WVDCH).

On Friday, Feb. 17, Cabinet Secretary Gayle Manchin of WVOSEA welcomed guests and introduced Fred Joseph, representing Congressman Alex Mooney and Chad Story representing Congressman Evan Jenkins. Manchin presented first-place awards to Kaitlyn Starks, Robert C. Byrd High School, Harrison County, District 1; Leigh-Anna Johnson, Capital High School, Kanawha County, District 2; Jazmine Aliff, Sherman High School, Boone County, District 3; and Shyanna Ashcraft, Wayne High School, Wayne County, District 3. The first-place winners received a $100 gift certificate from Dick Blick Art Materials, and their work will represent West Virginia in the annual Congressional Art Competition for art students.                                                                                                                                     

An additional four second-place winners received awards including, Seneca Whyte, Bridgeport High School, Harrison County, District 1; Sydney Moore, St. Albans High School, Kanawha County, District 2;  Logan Gunter, Nitro High School, Kanawha County, District 2;  and Tyler Courts, Huntington High School, Cabell County, District 3. Second-place winners received a $50 gift certificate from Dick Blick Art Materials.

The Congressional Art Exhibition consists of 127 pieces by 110 students, grades 9-12, from 16 West Virginia counties. All winners were selected by Sharon Mullens of Pinch. Mullens was the fine arts department chair at George Washington High School, where she developed an innovative visual arts program. She then joined the staff of the West Virginia Culture Center as its first director of exhibits. She created, planned and installed more than 250 original exhibits at the WVDCH’s sites, as well as assisted with the Governor’s Arts and Letters Series in the Governor’s Mansion. Before her retirement, she served as director of the West Virginia State Museum.

Mullens led more than 85 students in a drawing workshop prior to the awards program.

Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual-art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. The competition is sponsored by members of the United States Congress and culminates in a year-long exhibition at the United States Capitol building.

A complete list of students whose work is included in the exhibition is below.

For more information, contact Cailin Howe, exhibits coordinator for the division, at (304) 558-0220, ext. 128, or email her at

The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the Office of Education and the Arts, Gayle Manchin, cabinet secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.

MEDIA NOTE: Photographs of the event are available at www.wvculture.zenfolio.comClick on photographs, youth programs and congressional arts 2017.

2017 Congressional Youth Art Competition Winners Announced


Petersburg High School
Art Teacher: Michelle Hedrick

Raven Hedrick (Grade 11)            
For The Love Of… – Acrylics

Bridgeport High School
Art Teacher: Courtney Rankin

Mallory Leadman (Grade 10)
Violin – Colored pencils

Emma Posey (Grade 11)               
Self Discovery – Oil paint

Seneca Whyte (Grade 12)            
A Working Woman – Charcoal, graphite

Liberty High School
Art Teacher: Elizabeth Thomas

Carleigh Zink (Grade 12)
The Fox – Digital art
Untitled – Digital art

Lincoln High School
Art Teacher: Carolyn Light

Nagyaleeya Conrad (Grade 10)
Tedious Endeavors – Paper collage

Hannah Crofford (Grade 10)       
Grandma’s Recipe – Paper

Jenna Garrison (Grade 10)        
Arabian Coffee – Paper collage

Olivia Gianettino (Grade 11)       
Skull – Oil paint

Ryan Hardesty (Grade 9)              
Gender Equality – Acrylics

Collena Harris (Grade 11)             
Untitled – Graphite

Erin Huffman (Grade 12)              
Hunger – Photography

Mara Lisa Marra (Grade 11)        
Audrey – Oil

Allison McIntyre (Grade 12)        
Still Life: Flutes – Chalk pastels

Robert C. Byrd High School
Art Teacher: Katherine Crim

Paige Boram (Grade 12)           
Heroes and Villains – Acrylics

Eryca Clevenger (Grade 10)    
Merry Mosaic – Paper collage

Tannah Cox (Grade 12) 
Fetch – Acrylics

Danielle Eddy (Grade 12)             
Blue Bird – Acrylics

Emily Eddy (Grade 11)               
Aqua Angel – Watercolor

Marley Fisher (Grade 12)             
SLFL Cinci – Acrylics

Miguelina McMichael (Grade 12)              
Mia Meow – Paper collage

Zorian Misner (Grade 11)             
Twisted Twins – Acrylics

Olivia Roby (Grade 12)  
Cat Nap – Acrylics

Alyssa Shanholtz (Grade 11) 
In the Library – Pen and ink

Madisen Smith (Grade 12)           
Ascension – Watercolor

Riley Spears (Grade 11) 
Mass Production – Stencils, spray paint

Kaitlyn Starks (Grade 12)              
Alternate Universe – Marker

Grafton High School
Art Teacher: Belinda Thobois

Mariah Collins (Grade 11)            
Warm Autumn – Watercolor

Micah Harrison (Grade 12)        
Autumn Leaf – Watercolor
Megan Kisner (Grade 9)
Self Portrait – Graphite

Ana Lima (Grade 12)      
The Leaf – Mixed media

Abigail Montgomery (Grade 12)
Cubist Still Life – Tempera paint

Allison Peters (Grade 11)             
Leaf in Color – Mixed media

Lauren White (Grade 11)              
I’m Not Going to be an English Major, Mom
     Mixed media
Done De Toute Facon Voici une Feuille – Mixed media

Tyler Consolidated High School
Art Teacher: Joe Semple

William Tallman (Grade 12)         
Old Flame – Mixed media

Magnolia High School
Art Teacher: Leslie Day

Alavia Anderson (Grade 11)        
Streets of Venice – Graphite

McKenna Connolly (Grade 11)   
Untitled – Graphite

Kaitlyn Hamnok (Grade 11)         
Toucan Sam – Graphite, colored pencils

Alexandria Lindner (Grade 11)   
Fish – Graphite, colored pencils

Taylor Ludewig (Grade 12)
Underwater World – Colored pencils

Edward Mayfield (Grade 12)       
Tainted Apple – Mixed media

Kaitlyn Riter (Grade 12)
Unloving – Oil pastels
Cow Wonders – Oil pastels

Lindsay Whiteman (Grade 10)    
Something from Nothing – Mixed media
Snake Eye – Watercolor


Clay County High School
Art Teacher: Connie Kerr

Taylor Adkins (Grade 12)
Ocean Front – Watercolor

Alexis Blake (Grade 11)
Emmy Lou – Chalk pastels

Brianna Bostic (Grade 11)            
The Last Days – Watercolor

Chris Canter (Grade 10)
Hand in a Box – Chalk pastels

Emily Cottrell (Grade 12)          
Eye Love Drawing – Colored pencils

Dakota Fugate (Grade 12)            
Barefeet – Charcoal

Katelyn Holcomb (Grade 12)       
A Touch of Class – Chalk pastels

Tori Humphrey (Grade 11)          
Broken Wing – Chalk pastels

Jessica Lanham (Grade 12)          
The Leaves Have Fallen – Pastels

Autumn McMillion (Grade 12)   
Sister and I – Chalk pastels

Tressie Mullins (Grade 12)           
High School Memory – Watercolor

Zachary Myers (Grade 12)           
Panda Food – Chalk pastels

Courtney Nottingham (Grade 12)             
Good Vibes – Chalk pastels

Kenzie Sears (Grade 10)
Cries of the Innocent – Chalk pastels

Baylie Triplett (Grade 12)          
A Hawaiian Paradise – Chalk pastels

Samantha Young (Grade 12)       
Journey Through Time – Chalk pastels

Hampshire High School
Art Teacher: Robbie Glover

Monica Werner (Grade 11)         
Mystic Mountain – Acrylics
Capitol Galaxy – Acrylics

Washington High School
Art Teacher: Loretta Ober

Jace Bradbury (Grade 9)
West Virginia Pride – Mixed media

Sarah Flinchum (Grade 11)      
Pop Art Meets West Virginia Wild Flowers – Mixed media

Capital High School
Art Teacher: Christy Pennington

Hailey Adams (Grade 12)
Fading Away – Oil paint
Blending Nature – Watercolor, watercolor pencils

Makayla Bias (Grade 12)               
Red Diva – Digital Art
Rotten – Watercolor, colored pencils

Julianna Geyer (Grade 11)           
Untitled – Printmaking   

Raigan Hagerman (Grade 11)     
Bubblegum Snitch – Watercolor, markers
Let Me Drain – Oil paint

Aniah Hall (Grade 12) 
Self Portrait One – Charcoal

Destiny Johnson (Grade 12)        
Dead Dreams – Watercolor
Queen of Spaids – Watercolor

Leigh-Anna Johnson (Grade 12)
The Voices in My Head – Pen and ink, colored pencils
Mind’s Eye – Mixed media

Ashley Kidd (Grade 12)  
Courting Death – Graphite
Radiohead – Watercolor

Emma Leech (Grade 10)
Purple A Scoop of Coop – Chalk pastels

Elena Liv (Grade 11)   
Shoelace – Pen and ink
Step Over – Oil paint

Lillian Pauley (Grade 10)          
Oceans Blue – Styrofoam Print
Trash Mountain – Newspaper

Samantha Taylor (Grade 10)       
Love of Nature – Graphite
Shiny Spoons – Colored charcoal

Israel Wright (Grade 9)             
Abstract Diamond – Watercolor and ink
Shadows – Watercolor, colored pencils

Nitro High School
Art Teacher: Debbie Pierce

Logan Gunter (Grade 10)             
Untitled – Colored pencils

Courtney Virag (Grade 11)           
Untitled – Watercolor    

Alexis Zain (Grade 11)    
Lighthouse – Tempera paint

South Charleston High School
Art Teacher: Donna Wood

Surin Jaima (Grade 9)
Anymis – Acrylics

Celeste Maddy (Grade 11)
Automan London – Pen and ink

St. Albans High School
Art Teacher: Debra Moore

Jade Beall (Grade 9)
Face to Face – Tempera paint

Grace Bradley (Grade 9)
Hindi – Crayon, Tempera paint
In Bloom – Tissue paper collage

Sydney Moore (Grade 9)
Diffusion – Markers
Super Moon – Collage

Madeline Teel (Grade 9)
The Music in Me – Tissue paper collage

Poca High School
Art Teacher: Cathy Thomas

Asia Davis (Grade 11)
Great Wave Interpretation – Mixed media

Karissa Keech (Grade 11)
3 Panel Line Painting – Mixed media


Scott High School
Art Teacher: Carly Racer

Madison Curry (Grade 11)           
Comforting Galaxy Fish – Mixed media
Sherman High School
Art Teacher: Cheryl Judy

Jazmine Aliff (Grade 11)
Law of Attraction – Mixed media

Alayna Hall (Grade 10)  
Back in Time – Acrylics

Alaska Perdue (Grade 12)            
Flamenco Dancer – Mixed media

Huntington High School
Art Teacher: Brianna Allen

Averi Aya-ay (Grade 11)
Karma – Acrylic

Alexa Preston (Grade 11)         
Black – Ink wash

Morgan Sweeney (Grade 12)     
Maryland’s Blooming Day – Oil pastels

Teresa Ward (Grade 12)
Trapped – Chalk pastels

Jasmine Williams (Grade 11)       
Red – Watercolor

Art Teacher: Diana Frazier

Emilee Aliff (Grade 11)  
Drip – Photography

Tyler Courts (Grade 10) 
Through the Fence – Photography            

Karen Leth (Grade 12)
Portraying Words – Photography

Danika Spencer (Grade 11)          
Izeeah – Pen and ink

Chapmanville Regional High School
Art Teacher: Karen Adkins

Sarah Farmer (Grade 12)
Farmer – Acrylics

Abigail Triplett (Grade 11)
Pinky Promise Upsidedown – Mixed media

Alicia Walker (Grade 12)
Love – Pencils

Emily Workman (Grade 12)
Sunset on the Beach – Acrylics

Hannan Jr./Sr. High School
Art Teacher: Brianne Solomon

Hannah Carrall (Grade 10)           
Theron Linville III – Graphite

Brittany Jenkins (Grade 10)         
Peachy Keen – Mixed media

Wahama Jr./Sr. High School
Art Teacher: Susan Parrish

Megan Roush (Grade 11)             
Sloth – Pencil

Reese Roush (Grade 10)           
Despair – Block print

Camryn Tyree (Grade 10)             
Moon Flower – Block print

Wayne High School
Art Teacher: Todd Ross

Shyanna Ashcraft (Grade 11)      
The Beauty of True Colors – Watercolor

Wyoming East High School
Art Teacher: Cheryl Morgan

Adaria Toler (Grade 10)
Phoenix of Amarantha – Mixed media

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