On May 31, at the Oro Valley Public Library, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick, D-Ariz., formally announced the winners of the Congressional Art Competition for District 1.

Recent Ironwood Ridge High School graduate Stephanie Spalding took first place and will have her artwork displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year alongside artwork from other winners nationwide.

Her pen-and-ink drawing is that of her older sister, Allison, when she was about three years old holding a phone talking to her grandmother. The photo she drew her picture from has always been a favorite of hers. The project was to create a drawing using a single word over and over. The word repeated over and over in the drawing is “hello.”

When Stephanie learned that her piece won, which was judged by a panel from throughout the state, she didn’t believe it at first.

“I had had some rotten luck earlier with putting stuff in and it wasn’t quite turning it out for me,” Stephanie said “But I kept going and I put it in this one and I was so excited. My teacher and I were just screaming in her office. It was so exciting.”

Sometime within the next year, Stephanie is expecting that she will make it out to Washington D.C. to see her work hung in the Capitol. 

“I don’t know if we are going to make it a family trip or if it will just be a girl’s weekend,” she said.

In the mean time, she is preparing to go to Brigham Young University in Idaho where she plans to study art in some form or another.

Stephanie’s mother, Debbie, who was at the reception last week, said Stephanie has always had an interest in art. She is honored that now a piece of artwork that represents both her daughters will be displayed so prominently for the next year.

“She always loved her sister and has been there for her and encouraged her,” Debbie said. “When she brought the picture home, it was so sweet.”

Artwork from the runners-up from the competition will be displayed in Kirkpatrick’s Washington D.C. office and Arizona district offices.

The first runner up was Sarah Rex from Ironwood Ridge High School The second runner up was Laurel Dieckhaus from Sonoran Science Academy. The third runners up were Mary Katherine Dobrydney from Mountain View High School and Charles Bryce Corning from Canyon Del Oro High School.

“The art competition is a great way to showcase the range of talent in our district, “ Kirkpatrick said in a press release. “I am proud to display the work of these students in the U.S. Capitol and in our offices across Arizona.”

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