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Artists Work Displayed At Denham District Office
This is the second place winning art piece selected for the 2016 Congressional Art Competition drawn by Riverbank High School student Andres Mora. Photo Contributed


Riverbank High School junior Andres Mora won second place in the Congressional Art Competition that was open to all students in the 10th District with his original artwork, “Still life of Shell.”

This is the first competition that Mora has ever been a part of and Art Teacher Holly Cortes could not be more proud of him.

“I had some very promising artwork that I knew would go far in the actual competition,” stated Cortes. “I think that was really the push. In the past we’ve been mostly an intro program here at Riverbank High School and now that we have this advanced studio class I feel like we are creating the work that deserves to be in the competition.”

Cortes has been teaching at RHS for the past eight years and this is the second year that she is teaching an advanced studio class.

“This is the first year we have participated and we did very well,” said Cortes of joining the Congressional Art Competition. “I knew it would go far, it was a very nice piece; that is why we decided to really get into it this year.”

The competition began with students submitting artwork that was placed on Congressmen Jeff Denham’s Facebook page and the public was asked to ‘like’ the artwork that they most favored.

The artwork on the page did not have the artist’s names and out of the 23 pieces entered Mora was selected in the top five. The five pieces with the most likes on the page moved on to the second part of the competition.

A reception was held at The Mistlin Art Gallery in Modesto on March 8 where a panel of three judges including a former Oakdale art teacher and two local artists carefully reviewed the selections and determined the winners.

Mora was selected as the second place winner and he received a plaque and he will have his artwork displayed in Congressman Denham’s Modesto district office.

The first place winner along with family will be flown to Washington DC where their artwork will be displayed. The first place winner was from Turlock.

“I am very proud of Andres and his work,” added Cortes. “The piece that we actually put in there was the first time he has ever used that medium and it is just absolutely amazing so I am proud of him.

“It is a drawing of a seashell and it is all using China marker which is not an easy medium to work with at all. He is able to make it so life like and beautiful with a medium that is not easy to use.”

Enjoying art since elementary school, Mora has a passion for art and with the encouragement from teachers, parents, friends, and family about his talents he plans to continue to work hard.

The art tool of choice for Mora is the China marker and doing black and white artwork however, if he was going to use color he would use acrylic paint.

“At first I was pretty excited and then the first couple of weeks I was pretty confident for some reason,” expressed Mora. “I was confident that I would make the top five and a lot of people helped to get me to the top five and I appreciate that like my classmates and my family. It was pretty exciting, it was fun.”

The seashell was the first project that they did in advanced art class and it was the first time he used the China marker.

Mora said he is honored to have his artwork displayed in the Congressman’s office.

According to the website, each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Since the Artistic Discovery competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated.