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Rep. Kean announces winners of 2023 Congressional Art Competition

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Tom Kean, Jr. Tuesday announced New Jersey’s 7th District winners of the 2023 Congressional Art Competition.

The first-place winner of the competition is Sharanya Ram of Bridgewater-Raritan High School. Her piece, “In Your Eyes,” will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.

Winners are chosen by a panel of judges from the 7th Congressional District.

Selected as runners-up are Maggie Liu of New Providence High School for her piece, “Just Float” and Angela Xu of Bridgewater-Raritan High School for her piece, “Prism.” These two pieces will be hung alternatively in Congressman Kean’s Washington, DC and New Jersey offices for a year.  Three additional “Honorable Mentions” were also recognized by the judges.

In describing her piece, done in acrylic paint, Sharanya said, “It is a hyper-real snapshot of my eyes. I was thinking of the way loved ones may see me as I was painting this.”

“We have incredible homegrown talent in New Jersey and it was reflected in every submission our office received,” said Rep. Kean. “Congratulations to our honorees and thank you to all the teachers, judges, and parents who supported the students, volunteered their time, and made this competition a success. All the artwork submitted truly reflects the creativity and passion within our community, and I am very proud to showcase such talented artwork in our nation’s capital.”

Rachel Heberling and Alicia Ferrell served as judges for this year’s competition.

Rachel Heberling is the Executive Director of Frontline Arts in Branchburg, New Jersey, where she directs the operations and programs, writes grants and oversees exhibitions, events, fundraising and membership with her creative staff.

Heberling was previously the Printmaking Center’s Studio Program Manager and Frontline Arts’ Studio Director. Heberling received her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University in Columbus and has exhibited her work in venues such as the National Arts Club, NYC; Hoofprint Workshop, Chicago, IL; King St Stephen Museum, Székesfehérvár, Hungary; Roy G Biv, Columbus, OH; and The Corcoran Gallery Museum, DC.

Alicia Ferrell has been teaching art for over 15 years and currently works as an elementary art teacher in Livingston, NJ.  In 2017, she was recognized with the Art Educators of NJ (AENJ) Elementary Art Division Award.  Ms. Ferrell also has experience working behind the scenes in theater, directing and building sets for school play productions, and currently teaches visual design at the Class Act Drama Camp in Bedminster, NJ.  Ms. Ferrell earned her B.A. and M.A. in Fine Arts Education at Kean University.

To view all of the 2023 submissions from NJ-7, click here.

Jay Edwards

Born and raised in Northwest NJ, Jay has a degree in Communications and has had a life-long interest in local radio and various styles of music. Jay has held numerous jobs over the years such as stunt car driver, bartender, voice-over artist, traffic reporter (award winning), NY Yankee maintenance crewmember and peanut farm worker. His hobbies include mountain climbing, snowmobiling, cooking, performing stand-up comedy and he is an avid squirrel watcher. Jay has been a guest on America’s Morning Headquarters,program on The Weather Channel, and was interviewed by Sam Champion.

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