Tenth grade Longmeadow student Imogen Jones was selected as the Massachusetts District 1 winner for the Congressional Art Competition. From left to right: art department Chair Mariel Gross, Jones’ parents Caerwyn Jones and Kate Polga, art teacher Elizabeth Mitchell, Principal Thomas Landers, Jones, Rep. Richard Neal, and Superintendent M. Martin O’Shea.
Reminder Publishing photo by Laura Mason

LONGMEADOW — Longmeadow 10th grade student Imogen Jones was announced as the Massachusetts First Congressional Cistrict winner for the Congressional Art Competition during a small ceremony at Longmeadow High School on Monday, May 20.

During the ceremony, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (D-Springfield) presented Jones with a certificate and explained that her artwork will hang for 11 months in Cannon Tunnel, the walkway between the U.S. Capitol Building and Cannon House used by congressmen and staff, along with the other winners’ artwork. The piece will represent the entire first congressional district, he said.

Neal highlighted that thousands of people, potentially tens of thousands, may walk by the wall of art on any day while moving between the two buildings. He emphasized that the competition was an important way to recognize artists.

The Congressional Art Competition is annual event that highlights artwork from high school students across the country, according to the Congressional Institute. The event is hosted by the Congressional Institute and allows one art submission to be selected from participating districts. This is the 43rd year of the competition, the institute stated.

All nine of Massachusetts’ congressional districts currently participate in the competition, Neal said.
Jones’ winning piece is a watercolor still life which depicts a stack of hats. She told Reminder Publishing that the painting illustrates “hand-me-downs” that she owns with each hat representing a different interest of hers, such as traveling, hiking and biking.

One example Jones highlighted in the painting was a hat with Looney Tunes character Bugs Bunny, stating that the hat represented her interest in animation.

Jones estimated that the painting took 10 hours to create over eight class periods. She completed it in February for a still life assignment in her drawing, painting and printmaking class and credited her teacher, Elizabeth Mitchell, for encouraging her to submit the painting for the Congressional Art Competition.

Although the actual piece was in transport to Washington, D.C., at the time of the May 20 ceremony, a print was made in order to display the work during the celebration, Jones explained.

While prior Longmeadow High School students have been selected as Congressional Art Competition winners, Jones’ selection was the first in “at least a decade,” Principal Thomas Landers stated.

At the ceremony, Jones’ mother Kate Polga thanked the Longmeadow High School art department for supporting Jones, stating that her daughter has “really grown as an artist” while working with them. Polga told Reminder Publishing that Jones has loved creating art since she was young.

Similarly, Jones expressed gratitude to all who attended the ceremony and stated that she was excited to see her artwork hanging in Cannon Tunnel when her family visited during the summer.

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