Brawley Union High School Student Wins 51st Congressional Art Competition

Congressman Juan Vargas (R) announced Matthew Torres (L) as the winner of the 51st District’s 2016 Congressional Art Competition at Hidalgo Hall Wednesday.

BRAWLEY – U.S. Congressman Juan Vargas (California 51st District) hosted a reception at the Hidalgo Society Hall Wednesday evening for the participants of the 51st District’s  2016 Congressional Art Competition and announced Brawley High 9th grade student Matthew Torres as the winner of this year’s competition. Families of the artists as well as community members also attended the event.

“This year we had a lot of submissions throughout the 51st Congressional District, which made the decision very difficult,” said Vargas. “It’s always inspiring to see the artwork submitted to this annual competition. Talented young artists from our district put their time and passion into creating unique pieces of art that showcase their creativity.  Every participant should be proud of the effort they put forth during this competition.”

The winning piece titled, “Weave Project” by Torres, as judged by a panel of local community artists, will be displayed for one year at the Cannon House Office Building tunnel at the U.S. Capitol.

“I like art, but I didn’t think I could win this,” said Torres. “It was the hardest thing I have done.”

As first place winner, Torres received a certificate of recognition and will attend a special Congressional reception in Washington D.C., where he will be joined by first place winners from other parts of the country.

“It is an exciting moment at the Capital when all of these young artists come together from every corner of the United States, it really is a magnificent day that we all look forward to,” said Vargas.

Participating schools included Brawley Union High School, Calipatria High School, Chula Vista High School, Imperial High School, and Southwest High School.

“Everyone who is here tonight and participated should be proud of what they created,” said Rudy Robles, executive director of the North County Coalition for the Arts (NoCCA). “There is no one else who could have created a testimony of the participant’s individuality, or created something that transcends any social or cultural barriers.”

Second place went to David Fuñez from Brawley High School with his piece entitled “Old Bones”, and Artayne Ramsey from Chula Vista High School won third place with her project titled “Portrait of Tucker”.

“I feel like I’m dreaming, it feels wonderful,” said Fuñez.

Over one hundred pieces of artwork from students throughout California’s 51st Congressional District were submitted and displayed throughout the Hidalgo hall during the reception.

“I’m a person who loves art. At our house, we had plastic chairs because we bought art before we bought furniture,” said Vargas. “It’s something I will never regret, as it has given my children the love for art.”

First, second and third place winners also received a Certificate of Recognition from the offices of Sen. Ben Hueso and Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia.

“It’s great that young kids can create artwork of what inspires them and be recognized at the state level,” said Margaret Gomez. “Every piece of art I have seen tonight has something unique about it. I’m glad to see kids more and more involved in creating artwork.”

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 Artistic Discovery competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Students submit entries to their representative’s office, and panels of district artists select the winning entries. Winners are recognized both in their district and at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

[envira-gallery id=”76807″]


  1. Good Morning, I just want to say that I am a very proud Tia. when I was notified that my lovely Matthew won fist place during the congressional art competition. I shared my happiness with friends, coworkers, and supervisor. I just want to tell my nephew Matthew “I love you baby, and I always will” from your tia Claudia.

Comments are closed.