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Teen's artwork wins contest, trip to D.C.

Inspired by how her younger sister handled bullying, a senior at Springville High School produced a piece of art that will be displayed in Washington, D.C.

"Above It All," by Malinda Rosenswie, was chosen to represent the 27th Congressional District in the Cannon Tunnel to the Capitol Building.

Her piece was the local grand-prize winner in "An Artistic Discovery," the annual art competition sponsored by the Congressional Institute. One piece of art from each district is chosen for the yearlong display.

Rosenswie won a pair of airline tickets for her and a guest to attend the ribbon-cutting for the display in Washington.

Her entry also was the Online Gallery Winner, chosen by the public. More than 350 votes were tallied in that contest.

The winners were announced Sunday by Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo, in the first floor lobby at the Larkin at Exchange Building, where submissions by students from 10 high schools in Erie and Chautauqua counties were on display.

Rosenswie said her 13-year-old sister, Joelle, was her inspiration.

"She was bullied not too long ago," the 17-year-old explained. The younger girl didn't let it bring her down.

A small, painted image of a leaping girl appears in the top left corner of the piece. The rest is a collage of newspaper headlines, overspread with brightly colored orbs. "To show the good popping out of the bad," Rosenswie said.

Judges for the competition were Caroline Barry, a local artist and freelance writer; Jen Swan, communication and administration coordinator for Arts Services Initiative of Western New York; and Leslie Zemsky, a local artist and president of Albright-Knox Art Gallery.

"The arts play an important role in education," Higgins said. "This is a great opportunity to showcase the work of talented Western New York students both locally and in our nation's Capitol."

"These decisions are very, very difficult," the congressman said.

A watercolor of Buffalo City Hall by James Scamacca, a junior at Iroquois High School in Elma, was the judges' choice for Best of Western New York. Windows on the top floors of the iconic Art Deco building were highlighted with embroidery floss.

"I wanted to bring out the color of the stained glass at the top," Scamacca said.

The second-place winner was Victoria Yargeau, a senior at Lake Shore High School in Evans. Her mixed-medium presentation was a wooded scene titled "Buffalo Rider."

Third place was won by Lauren Jenny, a sophomore at Iroquois High School. Her pencil drawing, "Pucker Up," was modeled after a photograph of the artist and her brother, Will, taken by their mother at a family wedding years ago.

All 24 entries to the competition can be viewed at Higgins' Flickr page: