Sean Stickel of Chapel Hill, right, stands with his winning artwork and Rep. David Price. Photo courtesy the Office of Congressman David Price.

Chapel Hill student's art to hang in U.S. Capitol

A local high school student will soon get to see one of his paintings displayed in the U.S. Capitol.

The Congressional Arts Competition, which gives young artists the chance to represent their congressional districts, celebrated its 32nd year this month. North Carolina’s Forth District Representative David Price — who represents Chapel Hill — saw a record 62 students submit work.

Sean Stickel, a homeschooled student from Chapel Hill, won first place with his artwork, “The Freedom Rider.” With this honor, Stickel won a scholarship to a summer arts program and his winning artwork will be displayed in an exhibit in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

Stickel’s piece is a watercolor painting of a motorcycle engine with reflections of red, white and blue stars and stripes.

“It was a very meticulous process that took me approximately 60 hours to complete,” Stickel said in an email.

And Stickel may be following in the artistic footsteps of family. His father, David Stickel, is a local painter and was thrilled to tell his son about the award.

“Believe it or not, I had to sit on this big news for two days so as to keep it a surprise until it was announced at the Museum of Art,” Stickel said in an e-mail.

Stickel said he did not expect to win the contest.

“As my dad says, ‘Guard your heart and keep your expectations low. It’s always better to be surprised than disappointed,’” Stickel said.

His father’s artistic influence has benefited him greatly, he said.

“I get to live with my art teacher,” Stickel said. “He always keeps me motivated and pushes me to keep doing my best.”

Stickel will accompany his artwork to Washington for a formal awards ceremony. An exhibit will then open featuring artwork from winners in similar contests across the country, said Rep. Price’s press secretary Andrew High.

The competition occurs in congressional districts across the country and has involved more than 650,000 students since it began in 1982. Public, private and homeschooled high school students are eligible to participate, High said.

Rep. Price serves as the co-chair of the Congressional Humanities Caucus and he is a member of the Congressional Arts Caucus.

“I enjoy running this competition every year because it gives us an opportunity to appreciate talented young artists, and affirm that the Arts are a crucial part of a well-rounded education,” Price said in a statement. “The arts and humanities are important disciplines because they enrich our understanding of our nation’s culture and history.”

Art by the runners up will be displayed in Rep. Price’s Washington D.C. office, as well as throughout his district offices in N.C.

Rep. Price hosted the competition finalists and their families at a reception at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh earlier this month.

“I congratulate all of the young people who participated, and especially Sean, whose artwork will be seen by millions of visitors to the U.S. Capitol over the next year,” Price said in a press release.

“The Fourth District is brimming with talent of all kinds, and artistic talent is no exception,” Price said.

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