California, Maryland – Ryan Hatch, a talented high school student, has been declared the winner of the 2023 Congressional Art Competition for Maryland’s Fifth District. The announcement was made by Congressman Hoyer, who expressed his admiration for the young artist’s work. Hatch’s captivating piece, titled “Smiles on Me,” will be displayed in the Capitol, allowing visitors and leaders to appreciate and enjoy his artistic prowess.

According to Hatch, the inspiration behind the artwork’s name came from the music artist Frank Ocean. Hatch dedicated a significant amount of time to incorporating different elements of his life into the artwork, using metaphorical visuals to represent them. Initially, Hatch only intended to “distort” one smile while leaving the rest unaffected. However, as he continued working on the piece, he added more personal metaphors to balance the composition and create a visually pleasing effect. For Hatch, the moral of the artwork is about growth, change, and the importance of different perspectives in life.

Ryan Hatch resides in California, Maryland, and utilized various artistic mediums to create “Smiles on Me.” Mechanical and colored pencils, a white Posca pen, black and white acrylic paint, a black alcohol marker, and black and red ballpoint pens were all employed to create this thought-provoking artwork.

The Congressional Art Competition has been an opportunity for Members of Congress to highlight the artistic talents of high school students in their respective districts since 1982. Over the years, hundreds of thousands of students have participated, and the winners have had the privilege of showcasing their artwork in the Capitol complex for a year. This exposure allows their work to be admired by the numerous visitors and Members of Congress who frequent the Capitol daily.

To commence the competition, Congressman Hoyer sent letters to all high schools in the Fifth District, notifying them of the Congressional Fifth District High School Arts Competition. Following the submission of entries, a panel of local judges, comprising professionals from the education and business communities, carefully assessed the artworks to determine the winner.

Ryan Hatch’s victory in the 2023 Congressional Art Competition exemplifies the outstanding talent and creativity present among young artists in Maryland’s Fifth District. His artwork, “Smiles on Me,” is a testament to his ability to incorporate personal metaphors and create a composition that captures life’s essence of growth, change, and perspective. As Hatch’s artwork takes its place among the distinguished pieces in the Capitol, it is sure to captivate the attention and spark contemplation in all those who have the privilege of viewing it.

The Congressional Art Competition not only fosters artistic expression but also allows the broader community to appreciate young artists’ incredible talent and imagination. Through this competition, the importance of art education and the impact it can have on shaping perspectives and encouraging personal growth are emphasized. Ryan Hatch’s achievement inspires aspiring artists and underscores the significance of providing platforms for artistic expression among high school students.

As “Smiles on Me” finds its place in the Capitol, it will undoubtedly serve as a reminder of the power of art to transcend boundaries and touch the hearts and minds of individuals from all walks of life. The talent exhibited by Ryan Hatch and other participants in the Congressional Art Competition continues to showcase the artistic potential that lies within the younger generation, leaving an indelible mark on the art world and inspiring future generations to embrace their creativity.

David M. Higgins II is an award-winning journalist passionate about uncovering the truth and telling compelling stories. Born in Baltimore and raised in Southern Maryland, he has lived in several East...

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