Local teen’s artwork will be on display in Washington D.C.

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Olivia Harris stands next to her painting “Sagebrush Wind.” | Mike Price, EastIdahoNews.com

IDAHO FALLS — A local girl was recognized Friday for winning first place in a Congressional Art Competition with a painting inspired by her grandpa.

Olivia Harris, 18, a student at Taylor’s Crossing Public Charter School in Idaho Falls, was honored at The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho for winning the competition in Idaho’s Second Congressional District. Earlier this year, Rep. Mike Simpson awarded Olivia first place for her oil painting of a cowboy riding a horse through sagebrush under a blue sky.

“I think this is a historic moment for the Congressional Art Contest — by far the most submissions that we have ever had,” Kathy Simpson, Mike Simpson’s wife said. “We had 110 pieces from 20 different schools throughout the congressional district.”

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. This year, the theme of the regional competition was “My Heritage. My Future. My Idaho.”

“One of my grandpas was in the last cattle drive and I wanted to represent that,” Olivia said. “I also wanted to represent the openness and vastness of Idaho and show the beauty of the world through painting.”

First place painting “Sagebrush Wind.” | Mike Price,EastIdahoNews.com

Idaho Falls Mayor Rebecca Casper, who attended the event honoring Olivia, said it’s important to celebrate “our higher selves.”

“Art brings out our higher selves,” Casper said. “The rising generation is full of bright spots.”

Olivia’s dad, David Harris said Olivia loves her heritage.

“She thought that she could combine tradition and Idaho and heritage all in one painting and that’s what she did,” David said. “We’re just proud. We’re just proud parents … as they say, ‘beaming with pride.'”

Olivia’s painting and the other pieces of artwork submitted for the competition will remain on display at The Art Museum of Eastern Idaho through March 23.

After that, Olivia’s painting will go to Washinton D.C. to be unveiled in June. It will stay there for one year then be sent back to Idaho.

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