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S. Allegheny senior wins Congressional art contest

| Tuesday, April 23, 2013, 4:21 a.m.
Cindy Shegan Keeley | DailyNews
U.S. Rep Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, congratulates South Allegheny High School senior Stephanie Taylor on taking first place in the 14th District Congressional Art Contest with her painting titled 'My Artistic Discovery: Mona and Me.'

A South Allegheny High School senior's fourth entry in a Congressional art contest put her at the top of the competition for a second time.

On the floor of the U.S. House last week, and at a ceremony on Monday night at the William Pitt Student Union in Oakland, U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Forest Hills, rose to recognize the artistic ability of Stephanie Taylor.

As she did as a freshman, Stephanie, 17, of Glassport took first place in the 14th District Congressional Art Contest.

“You can be born with talent,” said Jayne Sweet, Stephanie's art teacher since seventh grade, “but study, discipline and creating art makes you an artist.”

Stephanie's work will be displayed for the coming year in an exhibit at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

“Ms. Taylor's artwork, an acrylic painting entitled ‘My Artistic Discovery: Mona and Me,' was selected from a number of outstanding entries to this year's competition,” Doyle said in remarks published on Thursday in the Congressional Record. “Stephanie has received one of the top five awards for four years in a row. Last year, she received fifth place for her oil painting ‘Shades of Green.' Two years ago, she took second place, and in 2010 her painting was the winner.”

Her 2010 acrylic painting, “Leaves,” also was part of a year-long exhibit at the Capitol.

“Stephanie has a tremendous amount of artistic talent,” Doyle said. “I hope that she'll continue painting after she graduates from high school.”

Stephanie already has taken some pre-college courses at Carnegie Mellon University and a metal smithing course from the Society of Contemporary Crafts.

Doyle's office said high schools from throughout the 14th District submitted works that were judged by a select panel of Pittsburgh artists.

Stephanie, who took honorable mention for a separate work, is the only area artist to place this year.

Miranda McCully of Springdale High School took second place for a graphite drawing, “Breaking Free.” Reanna Buzza of Springdale took third for a graphite drawing, “Koala in Tree.”

Candice Kubican of Highlands High School was awarded fourth place for a marker composition, “Frederick the Frog.” Another Highlands student, Ashley Guillary, took fifth place for a silk painting, “Pittsburgh.”

Other honorable mentions went to students from Baldwin, Brentwood, Penn Hills and Sto-Rox high schools and the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School.

This year's competition, called “An Artistic Discovery,” also drew entries locally from East Allegheny and Woodland Hills high schools.

“I would like to thank these impressive young artists for allowing us to share and celebrate their talents, imagination and creativity,” Doyle said. “The efforts of these students in expressing themselves in a powerful and positive manner are no less than spectacular.”

Art contests are conducted across the nation as part of an annual competition sponsored by the Congressional Institute, an organization that provides educational information about Congress to the general public.

Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Participation is at the discretion of each U.S. representative's office. Winners are recognized both in their district and at an annual awards ceremony in Washington.

Locally there also is an annual contest conducted by Rep. Tim Murphy, R-Upper St. Clair, for the 18th District. Friday is the deadline for entries in that contest, for which winners will be announced at a ceremony on May 4 at Washington Crown Center Mall.

Rules can differ from district to district. For instance, a previous first-place winner in the 18th District would not be eligible to enter the contest in that district a second time.

Patrick Cloonan is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1967, or