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Art Competition

Each spring, a nationwide high school arts competition is sponsored by the Members of the House of Representatives.

Students interested in participating in the Congressional Art Competition can submit original artwork in one of seven different categories:

  • Collage,
  • Computer-generated art,
  • Drawings,
  • Mixed Media,
  • Paintings,
  • Photography, and
  • Prints.

The overall competition winner is awarded with "Best in Show" and his or her submission will be displayed in the US Capitol Building for a year with the winning submissions from across the country. First, second, and third place awards, as well as honorable mentions, are also given for most of the categories.

The Congressional Art Competition began in 1982 to provide an opportunity for Members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents. Since then, over 650,000 high school students have been involved with the nationwide competition.

If you have questions on Bill’s next Congressional Art Competition, which takes place each year in the spring, please contact Karen Wasielewski in the South Shore District Office at 508-746-9000.


Note: The rules and regulations may change in advance of the next competition. If you have any questions, please contact Karen Wasielewski in the South Shore District Office at 508-746-9000.

General Guidelines

The competition is open to high school students only. Exceptions may be made for schools that have 7th through 12th grades on one campus.

Artwork must be two-dimensional.

Each piece can be no larger than 28” x 28” x 4” (28 inches high, 28 inches wide, and 4 inches deep), including the frame. If your artwork is selected as the winning piece, it will be required to be framed and must still adhere to the size guidelines.

  • Artwork cannot weigh more than 15 pounds.
  • Artwork accepted mediums are as follows:
    • Collage: must be two dimensional,
    • Computer-generated art,
    • Drawings: colored pencil, pencil, ink, marker, pastels, charcoal (it is recommended that charcoal and pastel drawings be fixed),
    • Mixed Media: use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolor, etc.,
    • Paintings: oil, acrylics, watercolor, etc.,
    • Photography, and
    • Prints: lithographs, silkscreen, block prints.

Each entry must be original in concept, design, and execution and may not violate any U.S. copyright laws. Any entry that has been copied from an existing photo or image (including a painting, graphic, or advertisement) that was created by someone other than the student is a violation of the competition rules and will not be accepted.

Work entered must be in the original medium and not a scanned reproduction of a painting or drawing, for example.

The winning submission will hang in the US Capitol Building for the entire year of the exhibition and cannot be returned to the student earlier. Students should, therefore, submit artwork they will not need for other purposes.

Suitability Guidelines

As outlined in these guidelines, the final decision regarding the suitability of all artwork for the Congressional Art Competition exhibition in the US Capitol Building will be made by a panel of qualified persons chaired by the Architect of the Capitol. While it is not the intent to censor any artwork, we do wish to avoid artwork that is potentially inappropriate for display in this highly travelled area.

Artwork must adhere to the policy of the House Office Building Commission. In accordance with this policy, exhibits depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature are not allowed. It is necessary that all artwork be reviewed by the panel chaired by the Architect of the Capitol and any portion not in consonance with the Commission’s policy will be omitted from the exhibit.

Student Information and Release Form

Each entrant must submit a Student Information and Release Form, which interested applicants can obtain by contacting Karen Wasielewski in the South Shore District Office at 508-746-9000.

A TYPED copy of the Student Information and Release Form, signed by the teacher, a parent or guardian, and the student, must be submitted with the artwork to certify the originality of the piece. Please retain a copy for your records.

Drop Off Requirements for Artwork

One teacher from each participating high school should do the following:

  • Bundle all artwork together.
  • Each piece should have an Art Entry Label taped to the back.
  • Include an inventory of the artwork in the bundle.
  • On the outside of the bundle, attach the Artwork Cover Sheet.


Each student may submit only one piece per competition.

Only the Best in Show piece, which is the overall winning submission, will be sent to the US Capitol Building in D.C. and put on display for one year after the art show has ended.

The Best in Show winner and one guest will be invited to attend a reception in the US Capitol Building.

Every other piece submitted will be displayed at the Plymouth Center for the Arts and available for return at the end of the show.

Artwork may be viewed at the Plymouth Center for the Arts anytime during the show’s run.

All teachers, students, families, and friends are invited to attend the reception at the Plymouth Center for the Arts. The date and time of this reception will be provided to all participating students.