Submitted by the San Juan Island School District
This year, Friday Harbor High School students Ana Anderson and Mariah Daniher (class of 2018) were awarded first and second place, respectively, in the 37th annual Congressional Art Competition, sponsored by the Congressional Institute. It was the first time Friday Harbor students have entered the competition. Anderson’s pieces “Close Your Eyes” and “Fly Away” were chosen to represent Washington State’s 2nd Congressional District and will be on display with other state winners in the nation’s capital building for one year. Congressman Rick Larsen contacted her personally to congratulate her and invite her to attend the awards ceremony this summer.
During the awards ceremony congressional leaders, art college representatives and renowned artists spoke about the importance of arts and art education in America. The awards ceremony was filled with passionate speeches praising and encouraging the young artists. Keynote speaker actor Cory Michael Smith discussed his personal journey as an artist and the power of the arts in bringing about social awareness and positive change.
Reflecting on the value of the visual arts and her selection for the award Anderson stated, “Art has always been a major part of my life. It has provided me with a platform to utilize my artistic abilities to shed light on social issues I care about. The visual arts have continually given me an avenue to express my thoughts and emotions. It was a great honor and privilege to have my work displayed in the capital. The awards ceremony provided me with a forum to discuss my artwork and how it addresses the critically important issue of human trafficking with legislators. The next step on my journey will be attending the University of Victoria beginning this fall majoring in visual arts. There, I will continue to use my art as an outlet for social change.”
This is not the first time FHHS visual art students have been recognized for their outstanding work. Former students’ award-winning artwork is currently hanging in Washington state’s permanent collection in Olympia. FHHS students have also won the Western Regional Scholastics Golden Key award and have been selected for the Advanced Placement Studio Art website as a top scoring portfolio example. For the past decade, every Friday Harbor High School Advanced Placement Studio Art student has received a qualifying score of 3 and the majority have earned a top ranking of 5.
“We are very proud of both Ana and Mariah. They represent the quality of students and artists we have at Friday Harbor High School. Congratulations are in order,” said Friday Harbor High School Principal Fred Woods.