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Four WHS students’ art to be displayed at national exhibits

Four Woodbury High School students have proven their artistic skills on a national scale. 

WHS senior Erin Griffin and WHS junior Sarah Masood were selected as first and second place in the Congressional Art Competition, for Minnesota’s 4th Congressional District. 

WHS senior Emily Gordon, and WHS senior Tayo Famodu, both received  Silver Key awards from the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. 

“I know that I’m good around here,” Gordon said, “but the national level is a whole different ballgame.” 

WHS art teacher Karen Seashore said the entire art department is proud of its students. 

“The WHS art teachers are extremely proud of the special recognition these artists have received,” she said. “They are hardworking, creative and talented students – how exciting to have art critics recognize their amazing artistic ability.”


Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition in an effort to recognize and encourage artistic talent, according to the website. 

For the competition, students may submit artistic pieces to their representative’s office for consideration. 

A panel of artists will then review all of the submissions and select the top three entries – first place will be on display for a year in Washington in the tunnel leading to the U.S. Congress, second place will be on display in their representative’s national office, and third will be on display at their representative’s local office. 

Griffin, whose work will be on display in the tunnel, said it’s really exciting to know that thousands of people will see her work in the nation’s capital. 

“It’s really cool,” she said. 

Griffin’s winning painting depicts a “surreal portrait of my friend,” she said. 

In addition to having her work on display, Griffin also received two all-expense paid tickets to Washington to participate in the opening of the exhibit, which will take place on June 23. 

Masood, whose painting won second place, will have her work, a fantasy surrealism painting of a girl riding a dragon, on display in U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum’s national office in Washington. 


Two other WHS students who will be showcasing their work on a national scale is Gordon and Famodu, who took home Silver Key awards in the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, which means their work will be on display during an exhibit at Carnegie Hall in New York City. 

“It’s really surprising,” said Gordon, who won for her ceramics portfolio. “It’s so selective.” 

Famodu was not available to be inverviewed.

Gordon will be heading to New York City on June 11 for the exhibit. 

Gordon qualified for the national Scholastic Art & Writing Awards after having received a Gold Key at the Minnesota Scholastic Art Awards. 

In 2014, roughly 255,000 original works were submitted to the contest, and only 2,000 were awarded. 

“Only the top 1 percent wins at nationals,” Gordon said. 

Submissions are judged based on originality, technical skill and emergence of personal vision or voice.

Gordon said her favorite thing about ceramics is that it can be anything. 

“I like that you can take an ugly ball of clay and turn it into anything you want,” she said. “There’s no limit to what you can do – you can just see where it takes you.”

Amber Kispert-Smith

Amber Kispert-Smith has been the schools and Afton reporter at the Woodbury Bulletin since 2008. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked as a reporter for Press Publications in White Bear Lake.

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