MONTPELIER — Rep. Peter Welch hosted the 36th Annual Congressional Art Competition for high school students at The Gallery at Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier on May 8.

Desiree Dutkiewicz of St. Albans and a student at BFA-St. Albans, received a Congressman Welch’s Choice Award for her piece, “Apithony.”

“I am so impressed by the talent and creativity of these young Vermont artists,” Welch said. “Their work continues Vermont’s storied tradition of artistic excellence and is a reflection of our state’s first-rate art programs.”

Each spring, a nation-wide high school arts competition is sponsored by the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives. The Congressional Art Competition is an opportunity to recognize and encourage the artistic talent in the nation, as well as in Vermont.

Vermont has a special connection to the Congressional Arts Competition. The competition was created in 1981 by Jim Jeffords when he served in the House of Representatives. It is the largest annual gathering of art teachers and students in Vermont, and more than 650,000 high school students across the country have participated.

Jeffords started the competition as a way to celebrate and encourage the artistic talent of young people from across the country. High school students submit entries to their U.S. Representative’s office and panels of local artists in each district select the winning entries. The winning pieces are then displayed for one year in the tunnel leading from the three House Office Buildings to the U.S. Capitol — a route frequently traveled by members of Congress on their way to vote as well as tourists from all over the country.