Area teens recognized in 2013 Congressional Art Competition

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By Robert Villanueva

Three area teens received recognition for Kentucky’s Second District in the 2013 Congressional Art Competition.

Upton teen Jacob Walters was chosen as the first place overall winner, earning his work a place at the U.S. Capitol Building for display for a year. Walters also won, among other prizes, two tickets to Washington, D.C., a certificate and a ribbon.

Winners of the contest were announced earlier this month.

“I was shocked,” Walters, 19, said. “I didn’t expect to win against the entire Second District.”

Walters, who graduated from Hart County High School last week, won the art contest with his work titled “Quilt of Life.” The piece, he said, was classified as a mixed media because it combines sketches, watercolors and various materials.

In his description of his winning entry submitted for the competition, Walters dedicated the work to his grandmother and called it a “representation of dreams.” To create the illusion of quilt work, his description said, he used paper patches and included a variety of symbols for wisdom, love, success, youth, age and a variety of emotions.

“It took me my entire spring break,” Walters said of creating the piece.

He said it was a tribute to his grandmother who lived a “very tough life” and taught him a lot.

“I think I was the only grandchild out of all of them that she taught to sew,” Walters said, saying it made him feel special.

In addition to Walters, two Fort Knox High School students also received recognition.

Mae Hackney, 17, a Fort Knox senior, was named the individual county winner for Hardin County. She, too, was surprised when she received the award, she said.

Like Walters’ work, Hackney’s graphite drawing, which was untitled at the time but has since been titled “A Brand New Beginning,” was inspired by a female family member.

“I drew that with my mom in mind,” Hackney said, noting the subject is technically her stepmother.

The drawing is an abstract with surrealistic qualities, she said, with the main focal point being a giant eye. A necklace, symbolizing hope, appears above the eye, and other images, such as birds, are incorporated into the picture.

“There’s just a lot of symbolism and a lot of emotion put into it,” Hackney said.

After high school, Hackney plans to become a mass communication specialist in the Navy while pursuing a degree to teach art.

Jalen McKee, 18, captured an overall honorable mention designation. He graduated from Fort Knox last week.

McKee’s work was a value study drawing, Fort Knox art teacher Christine Winders said.

McKee’s win earned him a certificate and ribbon. His artwork will be displayed in congressman Brett Guthrie’s Bowling Green office, and a photo of the artwork and his name will be featured on Guthrie’s website, guthrie.house.gov. Hackney’s win garnered her a certificate and ribbon, and her name also is featured on the congressman’s website.

Robert Villanueva can be reached at (270) 505-1743 or rvillanueva@thenewsenterprise.com.