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NEWS: Murphy Recognizes Lake Brantley High Student as Winner of Congressional Art Competition

Student’s Artwork Will Be Displayed in U.S. Capitol for One Year

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Orlando, FL, May 11, 2017 | comments

U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy of Winter Park, Fla, has announced that Madeline Wheaton, a sophomore at Lake Brantley High School in Altamonte Springs, is the winner of the congressional art competition for Florida’s Seventh Congressional District. As a part of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Artistic Discovery national competition, Wheaton’s artwork will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year along with winning artworks from each congressional district in America. Wheaton will also be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C., later this year.

“My artwork, called ‘Desolation,’ incorporates ideas of desolation with the existence of a chicken who continues to live in the face of abandonment,” said Wheaton. “I have always enjoyed making art and hope to pursue a career in animation or video game design.  Coming into high school, my former art teacher, Mr. Garver, inspired me to dedicate more of my time to improving my art along with an older art student named Jan.

“Desolation” by Madeline Wheaton

Wheaton added that her passion for drawing was ignited at an early age by her aunt, Bonita Ryan, who is an avid painter and a mentor to Wheaton. Her parents, Julia and Russell, have always encouraged and supported her artistic talents, she said.

Dozens of local students submitted artwork and all were displayed at an event in at the Winter Springs Senior and Civic Center on May 1st for viewing and judging. Ultimately, a three-person panel of local art teachers selected Wheaton’s artwork as the first place winner. Jiuyun Sunzhou of The First Academy in Orlando earned second place for her artwork, titled Tibetan Smile. And, Mackenzie Clyburn of Lake Brantley High School earned third place for her untitled artwork.

“I am amazed at the unbelievable talent these young artists demonstrated and would be proud to have any of the submitted pieces represent central Florida in the U.S. Capitol,” said Congresswoman Murphy. “I also want to thank the teachers who inspire and encourage students to explore their creativity and pursue their passions every day. Music and the arts are an invaluable part of our children’s education, which is why I’m proud to have worked to increase funding for programs that support creativity and art.”

More than 650,000 high school students have participated in the U.S. House of Representatives’ Artistic Discovery competition since it began in 1982. The Congressional Institute sponsors the nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district across America.


U.S. Congresswoman Stephanie Murphy represents Florida’s Seventh Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, where she serves on the House Armed Services Committee and Small Business Committee. The district includes all of Seminole County and much of northern Orange County, including downtown Orlando, Maitland, Winter Park, and the University of Central Florida. Previously, Murphy was a businesswoman and college instructor who also served as a national security specialist in the Office of the Secretary of Defense where she received numerous awards for her distinguished service, including the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Civilian Service. Murphy lives in Winter Park with her husband and two children.


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