NACOGDOCHES, Texas – Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. The competition provides an opportunity for members of Congress to encourage and recognize the artistic talents of their young constituents.

The artwork submitted for the competition by high school students residing or attending school within U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert’s congressional district will be displayed in Griffith Fine Arts Gallery on the campus of Stephen F. Austin State University.

“Historically, art and its expression have always been vital to our culture,” Gohmert said. “One of my own daughters is a very gifted artist with her pieces showcased in the U.S., China and Germany, so art has certainly played a substantial role in my family’s life.

“Fine art needs to be a part of our children’s lives and can be instrumental in our children’s developmental capacities for so many aspects of a fulfilling life,” he added. “It seems that every year we have even more students with incredible talent and creativity that makes me shake my head in awe. Our congressional district is extraordinarily blessed with very talented art teachers who have nurtured superbly talented students, and the way the Griffith Fine Arts Gallery at Stephen F. Austin State University showcases each piece of art while being so incredibly hospitable to our students should make every East Texan proud.”

The entries will be exhibited beginning Tuesday, Dec. 3, and will be displayed through Saturday, Dec. 7, when an awards ceremony will be held, and an open house/reception will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The exhibition will close following the reception.

Griffith Gallery is located in the Griffith Fine Arts Building, 2222 Alumni Drive, and is open this fall from 2 to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday and from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Wednesday and Friday. The exhibition will open at 9:30 a.m. prior to the awards ceremony on Dec. 7.

First place winner will be recognized at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Since it began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Students submit entries to their representative’s office, and panels of local artists in each district select the winning entries.

First place winning entry from this congressional district will be displayed in the hallway of the U.S. Capitol; the second-place winning entry will be displayed in Gohmert’s office in Washington; and the third-place winning entry will be displayed in Gohmert’s district office in Tyler.