For the next year, members of the U.S. House of Representatives will walk past a Boonville High School student’s painting in the underground corridor linking the House office buildings and the U.S. Capitol.
Gabe Greis, a sophomore at Boonville High School, won the Congressional Art Competition for Missouri’s Fourth Congressional District, represented by Rep. Vicky Hartzler, R-Harrisonville, with his painting, “Home of the Immigrants.”
Every year since 1982, a panel of local artists from each congressional district has chosen a painting from a student in their district to hang in the Capitol hallway. Hartzler’s office received 29 paintings this year, according to a news release.
Greis painted a picture of his great-grandfather and his two siblings, who immigrated to the U.S. from Germany. The theme of the contest was “Made in America,” and Greis wanted to show that his grandfather was the son of an immigrant, he said.
“America was built by immigrants, so I thought it would work great for the theme,” Greis said.
Greis was shocked when the judges and Hartzler announced that he won, he said.
“I was totally speechless and had no words,” he said. “I couldn’t believe I won first place, let alone a trip to D.C.”
The second- and third-place paintings will hang in Harzler’s offices in Washington and Harrisonville, she announced in a news release. Sean Hughes, a senior cadet at Missouri Military Academy, placed second for his painting, “Artificial Stars,” which he based on a photo of a street lamp shining through icy tree branches.
“It was quite enchanting when I saw it in person,” Hughes said.
Maura Drew, a senior at Glasgow High School, placed third for her work, “We Are Made in America,” a collage that depicts George Washington, a Native American and people from the 1920s, 1950s, 1980s and present day.
“I thought that you can’t really pinpoint America as one thing,” Drew said. “So I chose six different people for six different time periods.”