MONTCLAIR, NJ - Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. announced the winners of his 19th annual Congressional Art Show Competition at Montclair State University (MSU). The competition was open to all high school students in the 9th Congressional district.

The art in first place will have the distinguished privilege of being on display in the U.S. Capitol for one year. Winner of the second prize will have their artwork hung in the Congressman’s office in Paterson.

High school students from schools all over the congressional district stood in anticipation. Art teachers and parents were at the sidelines proudly taking photos of their favorite artists.

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Congressman Pascrell entered the room with energy and enthusiasm, immediately engaging several students in conversation about their artwork, what inspires them, and the mediums they used for their pieces. 

Congressman Pascrell, also a former educator, was touted for putting our country on a better fiscal path, for being passionate about education and doing all he can to make art programs a priority in our schools. 

Thanking the art teachers and eliciting an emphatic round of applause Pascrell added, “Many students who did not connect in high school, connected when they understood that the arts reflect the times we live in. If art is an expression of our deepest feelings and thoughts, we need to make sure we cultivate this and make sure our own kids have an opportunity to develop their talents.”

Nadya Mellouk, a student from Kennedy High School stood in front of her monochromatic acrylic portrait. She enjoys art at her school and indicated the portrait was part of a class art project. She said, “I am hopeful that I will win, but as I look around, I see there is a lot of competition. I am happy to be here.”

Pascrell then announced the winners who were selected by a panel of art professionals associated with MSU. Christopher Joseph Greff from Saddle Brook High School received honorable mention. Third Place went to Daisy Hernandez from Rosa Parks High School in Paterson. Second Place went to Emma Walby from Leonia High School who was not present. Walby’s teacher accepted the award on her behalf. This year’s ‘Best in Show’ prize was awarded to Hyobin Park from Holy Angels High in Demarest.

Pascrell said that very often, particularly with budget constraints, arts take a back seat, but shouldn’t. He said students involved in arts often score higher on academic tests and added, “Even in the face of tough economic times, the importance of arts should not be forgotten. Art is important to our souls, our minds, and our values.”

Participants: Azul Ramos, Alicia Ortiz, Nicole Cordoba, Midsi Vazquez, Lissett Jusino, John Perez, Nadya Mellouk, Astrid Mochuca, Nathira Ahmad, Christopher Joseph Greff, Karisa Quimby, Rachel Sloma, Shannon Tichenor, Melissa Higgins, Marlise Silva, Adrian Albano, Destiny Garcia, Masuma Begum, Shamisha Williams, Nicole Bello, Cristhela Gonzalez, Daisy Hernandez, Rosa Sanchez, Hyobin Park, Anna Markham