ESCANABA - An Escanaba High School senior has been named the winner of the 2013 Congressional Art Competition in Michigan's 1st Congressional District.
EHS senior Joan Stacey's 20-by-26-inch photographic print of a night scene of the Escanaba NewPage paper mill, was chosen by an independent board of artists to represent the 1st District. The photograph will be displayed at the United States Capitol in Washington D.C. for one year.
Congressman Dan Benishek recognized Stacey for the honor during a special presentation Wednesday morning in the EHS art room.
Escanaba High School senior Joan Stacey, left, smiles in the EHS art room Wednesday during a presentation by U.S. Rep. Dan Benishek, who recognized her photographic print as the winner of the 2013 Congressional Art Competition for Michigan’s First Congressional District. (Daily Press photo by Jason Raiche)
"I think the paper mill is really an important part of our community," said Stacey, on her inspiration behind the photo. "This kind of shows a different perspective that makes it look almost kind of pretty. I think that's why it got so much attention. It's just a different perspective on something that's so important to our community."
Stacey was first notified of the recognition by her art teacher Cathy Uhazie approximately one month ago.
"Mrs. Uhazie called me outside of class and brought me down to the office and told me I had paperwork to fill out because I won something cool," recalled Stacey.
When she found out she had won, she couldn't believe it.
"I was really surprised and really happy about it. I had sent in my entry but I had almost kind of forgotten about it because I didn't really think I had a chance at winning it," she said, thanking her parents, Uhazie, and Benishek's office for their support.
Stacey will now head to the Capitol Building June 26 to see her piece and the winning art from all other districts nationwide, among other activities planned for the visiting artists.
Uhazie, her art teacher, offered some supportive words for Stacey's work.
"She's been very creative and she has a different perspective on the way that people look at things," she said. "That's obvious by this piece of work...This is a picture that makes it look beautiful, so beauty is in the eye of the beholder."
Stacey's father John also noted his daughter has always been well-rounded artistically.
"I think she's always taken a pretty innovative approach to her artwork, not only photography, but she's done sculpture and painting and pencil work too," he said.
Rep. Benishek called Stacey's print a great piece of art and said he's happy someone from Escanaba is representing the district as this year's winner.
"This is a beautiful piece," he said. "It gives you a little bit of a sense of Escanaba too, which is kind of nice. I'm happy to be able to sponsor that and happy that so many students participate."
This marks the second year in a row that an artist from the Upper Peninsula has been awarded the recognition in the 1st District. Last year Nicole Lindquist of Manistique won for an acrylic painting of her brother.
The Congressional Art Contest, sponsored by the Congressional Institute, has been held annually since 1982. To learn more about the contest, visit www.conginst.org.