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Trinity Student Wins 23rd Annual Congressional Art Competition

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. In our local Arizona congressional district (Rep. Eli Crane), "We are thrilled to announce that Trinity’s Ethan Orr (Sophomore), was selected as this year’s winner from the 2nd Congressional District of Arizona!"


A Quiet European Walkway - by Ethan Orr

Rep. Crane announced the winner and personally presented the award to Ethan at a ceremony held on May 6th at the Phippen Museum. When invited to talk about his art, Ethan described that he had written the words “Jesus” written in Korean in the piece. Upon hearing this, Congressman Crane asked Ethan to elaborate further. Ethan explained, “Jesus is everywhere. We don’t always see him but he is always there guiding us.” After Ethan’s response the congressman stated, "I think I’ve found my new best friend. This art will hang in the path from my office to the house floor and I will pass it each day and remember what you said.”


Also in attendance at the Art Competition was Mrs. Holly Weisel, Trinity’s upper campus art teacher. When asked to attend the event by the congressman’s office, Mrs. Weisel stated that “the suspense was killing me.” At the event, Mrs. Weisel explained, “I was so nervous, but when they announced the 2nd and 3rd place winners, and Ethan’s piece was still not shown, I knew he had won!” In reflection, Mrs. Weisel shared, “I was impressed with the dignity the event organizers and judges gave to the artists, our country and our God - it was emotional.”

Ethan will be recognized at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, DC. The ceremony is scheduled for June 20th in the U.S. Capital from 9:00am - 12:00pm. For winning this art competition, Ethan will receive two round-trip flights to Washington DC as well a college scholarship award in the amount of $5,000! Attending the June ceremony with Ethan will be his parents, Chris and Kelly Orr (both leaders at Trinity Christian School), along with Mrs. Weisel. After the Washington DC ceremony, Ethan’s winning art piece will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol building. Please join us in congratulating Ethan Orr on this award and also praying for him as he represents his family, his school and his heavenly Father in our nation’s capital!


The Search for Beauty


In the 2015 International Community of Christian Teacher Educators Journal, author Gary Gramenz writes, “educational institutions have traditionally underestimated the significance of beauty and perceive it to have no “practical utility.” Yet, as author Elaine Scarry (1999) contended, beauty is a natural ally to any educational endeavor that has as its goal the development of those who value being good, seek after truth, and pursue justice.


We know that God placed the search for beauty in our hearts as exemplified by King David’s psalm:


“One thing I ask of the Lord, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in his temple.” ~ Psalm 27:4

As we celebrate with Ethan and we also rejoice that we have a school like Trinity where the search for and appreciation of true beauty is foundational to the student experience. Not for the sake of beauty alone, but because it points us to the author of all beautiful things - our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


To see more information about the 23rd Annual Congressional Art Contest and all of the student submissions you may visit: https://phippenartmuseum.org/current-exhibits/


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