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Osborne ’24 Wins Congressional District Art Competition – Work to Hang in U.S. Capitol

A painting by Grace Osborne ’24 won the U.S. Congressional Art Competition for her home district (New York 10, represented by Jerold Nadler). The self-portrait, originally created for her Advanced Studio Art class, will be displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol.

Self-portrait by Grace Osborne '24

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. Students submit entries to their representative’s office, and panels of district artists select the winning entries. Winners are recognized both in their district and at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

“I was really surprised – I didn’t think I had a chance of winning,” said Osborne.

Her portrait, part of her Art Advanced Placement portfolio, is based on a photograph of herself as a toddler. “My student investigation was my own mental health and looking at that through memory, so I used that photo of myself when I was younger because I was really interested in ballet,” she explained. “I didn’t pursue it [ballet] but I thought it was an interesting topic to paint and I really like how it came out.”

She created the portrait using oil paint, her favorite media. “I think it’s just really fun to work with. You can thin it out or have it be really thick and use a pallet knife to just slap it on the canvas,” she explained. “A lot of the pieces I’ve done have been realistic and that’s really hard with acrylics or watercolors. Also, with oil paint, if you make a mistake, you can really easily go over it and it doesn’t show through.”

Looking at the portrait creates “a sense of nostalgia” for Osborne. She hopes other viewers notice the color scheme (“I was obsessed with pink when I was a child,” she said). “I really like the wash background and I think that brings the painting together and establishes a clearer color palette. I think I want people to feel almost bittersweet when they look at it.”

Osborne, who says she has drawn artistic inspiration from other Lawrenceville courses she’s taken, hopes to pursue a career in the arts. “Arts are the one thing I’ve always been really interested in, stuck with, and followed through on,” she said. “I know it’s probably going to be difficult to have a career as a full-time artist, but I definitely want to either do something like that or keep it up in my free time.”

For additional information, contact Lisa M. Gillard H'17, director of public relations, at lgillard@lawrenceville.org.