Congressman John Garamendi

Representing the 3rd District of California
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Winners of Congressional High School Art Competition Announced at Reception at Davis’ Pence Art Gallery

May 26, 2015
Press Release


DAVIS, CA - On Friday, Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) was proud to announce the winners of this year’s Congressional High School Art Competition in the 3rd District at the Pence Gallery in Davis. His office received more than 60 pieces this year - a new record for the 3rd District. This year’s competition was judged by Art Council Directors from Solano, Yolo and Yuba-Sutter counties.

The grand prize winner was Michael Hafferty, a Sophomore at Sutter Union High School, with his piece, “Aidan.” Michael’s work will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol for a year in a gallery featuring winners from most Congressional districts in the country. Michael has also been awarded a free flight for him and a guest to Washington, DC where he will participate in a Capitol reception honoring the nation’s winners next month. He will be going with his art teacher, Stephen Tranberg.

“Congratulations to Michael Hafferty for winning this year’s competition. He has a rare gift, and I hope he follows his dreams,” Congressman Garamendi said. “The competition was stiff this year, and there were a lot of impressive pieces. I also want to congratulate the other artists we highlighted this year with special merit, including Brandon Lim, Chloe Tortal, Janice Noelle Averett, Emily Komessar, Marley Joy, Gabriel Vidales, Ellerie Mattias, and Sabrina Sandhu.”

“The Congressional High School Art Competition is an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate incredible talent throughout our communities. To be recognized at such an early age is important in building self-confidence. This is a tradition I’m honored to continue,” Garamendi added.

The student artists who earned awards for this year’s competition are listed below. A complete gallery of all pieces is available on Flickr at

Grand Prize

●     Michael Hafferty – Aidan, Sutter Union High School, Grade 10

Michael’s work will be displayed in the United States Capitol Building

First Runner Up

●     Brandon Lim – Culture, Davis Senior High School, Grade 11
Brandon’s work will be displayed in Congressman Garamendi’s Washington, DC office.

Honorable Mentions

●     Chloe Tortal – Appropriation of Color, Armijo High School, Grade 11

●     Janice Noelle Averett – Seeking Asylum, Davis Senior High School, Grade 12

●     Emily Komessar – War, Davis Senior High School, Grade 10

●     Marley Joy – Gateway, Woodland High School, Grade 12
These four pieces will be prominently featured at Congressman Garamendi’s Davis Open House on Friday, June 5th, from 4 pm to 6 pm (412 G Street).

County Winners

●     Gabriel Vidales – Girl Holding Cat, Pioneer High School, Grade 9
Gabriel’s work will be displayed in Congressman Garamendi’s Davis office (412 G Street).

●     Ellerie Mattias – Indian Elephant, Armijo High School, Grade 11
Ellerie’s work will be displayed in Congressman Garamendi’s Fairfield office (1261 Travis Boulevard, Suite 130).

●     Sabrina Sandhu – Cow Skull, River Valley High School Grade 11
Sabrina’s work will be displayed in Congressman Garamendi’s Yuba City office (795 Plumas Street).

Five of the participants were also chosen by the Pence Gallery to take part in a Teen Exhibit, scheduled for January 2016, as part of their Teens Take Charge Program. The five participants were Wenhui Lu and Brandon Lim of Davis Senior High School, Chloe Tortal from Armijo High School, Michael Hafferty of Sutter High School, and Gabriel Vidales from Pioneer High School. The program offers young artists from Davis and Woodland the opportunity to create a work of public art and organize their own teen event called Createfest. Createfest will be held on June 27th and will feature live music, a “maker’s market,” videos by teens, and free art activities designed for all ages.

Additionally ten students were separately chosen by YoloArts to attend the 29th California State Summer School for the Arts (CSSSA), a four-week art training program that offers students the opportunity to work and study under professional artists, writers, and performers. The CSSSA was created by then State Senator John Garamendi in 1985 as part of an effort to retain California’s young talents. Two of the students awarded CSSSA scholarships – Amy Fang and Brandon Lim of Davis Senior High School – were also participants in the Congressional Art Competition.

All submitted works have been on display at the Pence Gallery all this month, including during the monthly 2nd Friday ArtAbout Walk sponsored by the Davis Downtown Business Association.