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Congressman Mark Pocan

Representing the 2nd District of Wisconsin

Pocan Announces Congressional Art Competition Winners, Thanks Judges

Apr 26, 2016
Press Release

Madison — U.S. Representative Mark Pocan (WI-02) today announced the winners of his 2016 Congressional Art Competition at an event at the Goodman South Madison Library Monday night with the student artists, the panel of judges, teachers and other community members.

This year’s competition featured 35 pieces of art, from eight different high schools across the Second Congressional District. “Full Bloom,” a watercolor by Sophie Zhang from Madison Country Day School.

The Grand Prize winning submission was “Full Bloom,” a watercolor by Sophie Zhang from Madison Country Day School. She will be flown to Washington, D.C. for a reception in June honoring her painting, which will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for the next year. You can find a photo of the winner and her artwork here.

The Second Place winner was “The Crane Wife,” an acrylic painting created by Casandra Jacobsen from Edgewood High School, who was also among the winners in 2015. Third place went to Madison Country Day School’s Jadrian Hein, who made “Blume,” a paper collage and colored pencil piece. These pieces will be displayed in the Congressman’s D.C. and district offices.

Rep. Pocan congratulated the students and thanked their high school art teachers and the panel of community judges who selected the winning artwork.

“The deep artistic talent we have among high-school students across our district is on clear display in this year’s submissions,” Rep. Pocan said of the Congressional Art Competition pieces. “The judges had lengthy discussions on the art work this year due to the exceptional talents showcased here. My congratulations to all the students, who I hope will find many ways to use their extraordinary creativity.”

The annual Congressional Art Competition invites students to submit their original artwork in the following categories: paintings, drawings, collage, prints, mixed media, computer-generated art and photography.

2016 Congressional Art Competition Judges:

Meghan Blake-Horst

Meghan Blake-Horst is a native Madisonian raised in the local arts scene with a BS degree in Kinesiology from UW-Eau Claire.  For 10 years Meghan operated a retail art gallery, Absolutely Art, which won many awards. Meghan is also the Co-Founder and Market Manager for MadCity Bazaar, Madison’s Urban Pop-up Flea Market and has been involved in community and business organizing and advocacy throughout her life. 

Meghan was awarded the “Hometown Artist” Isthmus Indie Award, as well as being named Women to Watch group by BRAVA Magazine and one of 32 People to Watch by Madison Magazine.  She has judged numerous art events including Art Fair On the Square, Art Fair Off the Square and Winter Holiday Art Fair through the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Most recently she has begun a project with Safe Communities (the Artful Crossings Initiative) and curates exhibits in local businesses around the Madison area. Meghan is a strong community arts ambassador deeply rooted in Madison. 

Erin Carlson

Erin Carlson is a poet, arts organizer and advocate. She grew up on the eastside of Madison and returned after earning a degree in Arts Management from UW-Stevens Point. She currently works as Program Manager with Arts Wisconsin, where she runs advocacy events and spearheads the social media campaigns. In her spare time, Erin explores the intersection of poetry, photography and storytelling on Instagram (@hyperponderating).

Paul Stroede

Paul Stroede lives in Madison, where he works as a freelance artist and illustrator. After graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from UW-Oshkosh, Paul moved to Madison in 1986 to begin his Master of Fine Arts study at the University of Wisconsin. After graduation, he worked as the Art Director at Madison's weekly newspaper, Isthmus. During his 10 years there, he won numerous Milwaukee Press Club Awards for design work. In 2001, he became a freelance artist, showing his oil paintings around Wisconsin and in California, and illustrating stories for national newspapers and magazines, as well as illustrating several children's books. He is currently showing his fine arts paintings at Dillon Gallery in Madison. 

Brent Gerlach

Brent Gerlach is a conceptual artist that works on Community Development with the largest coworking community in Wisconsin: 100state. The namesake of 100state is in reference to “100 state of mind,” where entrepreneurial change agents come together to create more than they could on their own. In collaboration with a close team of creators, Brent strives to bring diverse groups of people together through shared spaces, so that we can learn from one another and grow as an inclusive whole. Brent has discovered through a rich history of large-scale art projects that Art is at the core of every meaningful relationship. Art is at the HeArt of it All.