AUGUSTA, ME– The winners of the 2018 Congressional Art Competition are Galen Gaze of Brunswick and Isobel Straub of Rangeley, Maine.

The Congressional Art Competition takes place each spring, when 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. Since this competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated, according to the U.S. House of Representatives website. This year’s winners representing Maine’s two congressional districts were chosen by a panel of jurors appointed by the Maine Arts Commission.

“We are so pleased to partner each year with our congressional offices to select Maine’s winners,” said Julie Richard, Executive Director of the Maine Arts Commission.  “Working with Maine College of Art helps make this process seamless and the recognition these students receive both in Maine and in Washington is very special.”

Galen Gaze, a senior from Brunswick High School, won the 1st District with her illustration entitled “Toucanana.”

Galen also earned an honorable mention for another illustration “Innocence Is Bliss.” She received a congratulatory call from Maine’s 1st District Congresswoman Chellie Pingree’s office.

“The artwork created by Maine students for this competition has always been impressive, and this year is no exception,” Pingree said. “Galen’s unique and creative drawing will certainly catch people’s eyes when it is on display at the Capitol.  My congratulations to her and all the top finishers of this year’s competition—everyone’s work was wonderful.”


Isobel Straub, a senior from Rangeley Lakes Regional High School, took top honors in the 2nd District for her photograph entitled “Wait.”

Both Isobel and Galen will have their artwork on display at the U.S. Capitol for one year and will be offered respective scholarships to attend Maine College of Art.

View all of Maine’s Congressional Art Competition’s top submissions here.

This year’s honored recipients include:

1st District: 1st Runner Up Benjamin Folsom of Falmouth High School; 2nd Runner Up Rachel Walton of Yarmouth High School; and Honorable Mentions: Corilie Green of Freeport High School, and Chelsea Zhao of Falmouth High School.

2nd District: First Runner Up: Pauline Han of Hebron Academy, Second Runner Up: Lizzie Dunn of Houlton Jr. Sr. High School. Honorable Mentions:  Cara Hu of Hebron Academy, Jasmine Weiang Li of Hebron Academy, and Yuqing Mao of Gould Academy.


All of the Congressional Art Competition awarded artwork will be on view at the State House in Augusta from April 2 through May 4. A special reception will be held in at the Blaine House to honor these artists. Galen and Isobel will subsequently be invited to attend the opening ceremony at the U.S. Capitol building in Washington D.C. in June.

For more information visit

The Maine Arts Commission supports artists, art organizations, educators, policy makers, and community developers in advancing the arts in Maine. For more than 50 years the Commission has encouraged and stimulated public interest and participation in the cultural heritage and cultural programs of our state; has worked to expand the state’s cultural resources; and encouraged and assisted freedom of artistic expression for the well-being of the arts, to meet the needs and aspirations of persons in all parts of the state. Additional information is available at


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