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America Doris Jacinto Agustin with her winning acrylic painting at the nation’s Capitol.

In a spate of firsts, America Doris Jacinto Agustin of College Place visited with Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers on her first visit to Washington, D.C., as Eastern Washington’s winner in the 2019 Congressional Art Competition. Her artwork, her first painting, will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol building for one year, according to a release.

Her first airplane trip on June 21 took her to the nation’s capital with College Place High School history teacher and chaperon Meghan Droog. America presented her art to the congresswoman on June 24 and attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

America and Meghan took advantage of their stay in Washington by touring the Capital campus, the White House and historical sites.

America is the second CPHSstudent to garner winning status in the contest that seeks entries for each congressional district — Alex Kjeldgaard did so in 2017. Three district runners-up will have the chance to display their entries in McMorris Rodgers’ Spokane, Colville and Walla Walla offices.

America discovered her interest in art when taking shelter with her father and youngest brother in a small home near the U.S.-Mexican border. Using paper and pencil she found, she drew a Mickey and Minnie baby and a Bible with a verse. 

“These drawings convinced me that art was my passion and it was going to be part of my future,” she said.

The second of five siblings, she was born and raised in Alabama to parents from Guatemala. They lived four years in the Central American nation with her grandparents beginning in 2011.

When she heard about the congressional art contest she decided to create a painting for it. “I have always wanted to present my art to the world and that is what inspired me to enter the contest and now many people from all over the world will see my art in the Capitol,” she said.

This from a budding artist who didn’t own any art materials and who had never painted before. A store employee advised her to work with acrylics and helped her assemble the necessary supplies. 

That very Saturday, on May 4, she launched into her project and painted from 9:35 a.m. until finishing at 8 p.m. 

“May 5 was the cutoff date but Rodgers’ office made an exception to allow me to enter it on Monday,” she said.

“I have always wanted to paint and this contest was just the inspiration I needed to start. I always wanted to try to paint roses as I have drawn them many times. This was my first time painting and what better thing than to paint roses?” 

The three roses represent her older and younger brothers, “because we are always together and the leaves represent my little sisters as we are all growing together as a family.”

America will be a junior this fall. She has been offered scholarships to three art schools once she graduates. 

Since 1982, young people from across the country have had the opportunity to display their art inside the U.S. Capitol. Students in seventh through 12th grades may submit paintings, drawings, photography and mixed-media pieces. 

The artwork must be original, no more than 15 pounds, no larger than 26 inches by 26 inches by four inches, including the frame, and be prepared for hanging.  

Each student may submit one piece of two-dimensional artwork. Paintings may be in oil, acrylics, watercolor, etc. Drawings may be in colored pencil, pencil, ink, markers, pastels and charcoal, the latter two having been fixed. Collages: must be two dimensional. Prints: lithographs, silk-screen, block prints. 

Mixed Media: use of more than two mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolor, etc. Computer.

Etcetera appears in daily and Sunday editions. Annie Charnley Eveland can be reached at annieeveland@wwub.com or afternoons at 526-8313. 

Annie joined the U-B news staff in 1979 and since 1990 has written Etcetera, a daily community column. She was promoted to a copy editing post in 2007. She edits copy, designs and lays out pages, including the weekly arts and entertainment guide Marquee,

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