Agriculture, art cross pollinate for winning Loomis painting in Congressional Art Contest

High school art student winners hail from South Lake Tahoe, Loomis, Granite Bay and Madera County
By: Don Chaddock, Managing Editor
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EL DORADO HILLS, CA - For Del Oro High School junior Ashlyn Woods, putting her passion on canvas has earned her a trip to the nation’s capital.

Her winning piece, titled “Future Farmers of America,” will be displayed for one year in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol. She will be invited, along with one guest, to the unveiling of the exhibit and a reception in Washington, D.C.

“I chose to enter this painting because FFA is really important to me,” said the 17-year-old Woods during a May 1 reception held in El Dorado Hills. “I have to thank my two art teachers, Mrs. Jakubik and Mr. Somers. They really encouraged me.”

District 4 U.S. Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, said he was impressed by the quality of the artwork submitted for the Congressional Art Competition.

“I’m always humbled by these young artists,” McClintock said. “We all had teachers who inspired us (in school). Thank you to all the teachers who … cultivated and inspired these young people.”

McClintock presented certificates to five of the students who placed the highest in the contest.

Brandon Borjon, of Granite Bay High School, took third place for his work titled, “He Said.”

“Great artwork is art that is personal to the viewer,” he said. “Even though the artwork is personal to me, it might have a different personal meaning to the viewer.”

Norman Gonzales, outreach coordinator for McClintock’s office, thanked the large gathering of art students, their parents, educators and contest judges.

“We are thrilled to put this on,” he said. “So many people did a lot of work to make this event happen.”

Diana Ruslin, mayor of Rocklin, serves as a judge for the contest.

“I’ve been judging it for two years now,” Ruslin said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for high school students to showcase their craft and it gives them a wonderful forum to display their talent. It keeps growing. Every year, there are more entries.”

Debbie Manning, CEO of the El Dorado Hills Chamber of Commerce, also served as a judge and was impressed by the quality of the art submissions.

“I was blown away,” she said. “It’s such a great contest.”

Hosted by BI Design Studio in El Dorado Hills, the bash was catered by the owners, Alexandra and Craig Badolian.

“It was a no-brainer for us to host this event,” Alexandra Badolian said. “Art is one of our passions, so this was perfect.”

One artist, 18-year-old Daisy Allison of Minarets High School in Madera County, drove more than three hours for the reception. She received honorable mention for her work titled “Voyage.”

“We went the back roads,” she said. “It was worth it. It was really pretty.”

Julia Schmidseder, 18, is a student at South Lake Tahoe in El Dorado County.

Her photograph, “Freedom,” earned second place in the contest.

“At the school, I’ve been doing photography for a year,” she said. “I was also a finalist in the Nikon competition.”