Area students earn top honors in art competition

Congressman Steve Chabot recently recognized the work of several area students at an awards ceremony for the 2013 Congressional Art Competition “An Artistic Discovery” at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Morgan Vaughan from Lebanon, a Dayton Christian High School sophomore was named as the first place winner.

Springboro High School junior Riley Rocco was the top Warren County winner.

For Riley Rocco, art is a form of self-expression. She enjoys taking photographs of people and animals. She used a Canon PowerShot G12 camera to take her winning photo.

“I took the crocodile at the Newport Aquarium. When we got to the crocodile/alligator section, it was out in the water and it looked like the crocodile was half submerged. I thought it looked really cool, so I took a picture of it. What I like about the photo is that I took it through glass and in the picture, it doesn’t look like there is glass,” she said.

Chabot’s office received over 135 pieces of original art. This year marked the 31st annual Congressional Art Competition and the ceremony was open to all participants, teachers and their families.

“With Morgan’s acrylic, the attention to detail stood out. I think most people were drawn especially to the water. When you look at it, it looks very real,” said Gail Gnagey, high school art teacher, Dayton Christian High School. “It’s hard to get the soft ripples in water to look right. Morgan did an awesome job with that. This was her first acrylic in this class and it was a great effort.”

According to Mari Kay Miller, digital media arts instructor, Warren County Career Center and satellite at Springboro High School, Springboro had six students in the top 20 this year. In addition to Rocco, the other students recognized were Molly Brun, Daphne Beltz, Rosemary Fox, Ally Webb and Sarah Gniazdowski.

“Riley likes art. She draws, takes photos and does a lot artwork outside of school. It’s definitely her passion,” Miller said, as she reflected on Rocco’s work. “She has a good eye for composition. She also works a lot with color and texture. Her work tells a story.”