Park West Gallery hosts Artistic Discovery Contest winners

 In Art & Gallery News, Art Contests, Philanthropy
Brenda Lawrence art Park West Gallery

First place winner Joelle Joyner with her artwork, “Le Fin de L’ete.”

Park West Gallery was pleased to encourage the next generation of artists by hosting the awards ceremony for the 2016 Artistic Discovery Contest on April 23.

This national competition, sponsored by the U.S. House of Representatives, provides the opportunity for high school artists to be recognized for their talents at a national and congressional district level. Locally, the contest was open to all high school students in the 14th district, which is represented by Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence.

Park West Gallery hosted more than 30 artists and parents at its Southfield, Michigan location, displaying the various submissions from the 14th district that ranged from photography to colorful drawings.

“Art is a form of expression, so to every young person that is here, if you have the artistic skill, understand that it’s like you speaking,” Lawrence said. “Every time someone looks at your painting, they are actually hearing your voice.”

Brenda Lawrence art Park West Gallery

Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence speaks to attendees at the awards reception held at Park West Gallery.

The top winners were chosen from among 38 contestants. First place was awarded to Joelle Joyner, a sophomore at Mercy High School. Her work of art, “Le Fin de L’ete” (The End of Summer), is a color pencil drawing of a flower.

“I was shaking, I couldn’t believe it,” she said of winning the competition. “I wasn’t expecting first place, because I saw all the great artists and they were really good.”

As the first place winner, Joelle and one of her parents will be flown to Washington, D.C. to attend the national reception. Her artwork will hang in the Capitol for an entire year, and will be displayed on’s Congressional Art Competition page.

Brenda Lawrence art Park West Gallery

Above, Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence with the first place winner and her family. From left: Jamal Joyner, William Joyner, Lawrence, Joelle Joyner, Michelle Joyner and Julian Joyner.

Joelle says she has been interested in creating art since 5th grade, and the inspiration for her winning work came from her teacher encouraging her to depict a new subject matter from her usual portraiture.

“I consider myself very imaginative, and I like to express that through art,” she said. “Plants are something I never had experience with, so it was very challenging.”

Second place went to Madison Thomas, a senior at Grosse Pointe South High School, for her photo, “Child of India.” The photo depicts a child she saw while traveling through a slum in India, and Madison wanted to capture the hope she saw in the child’s eyes. The photo will be on display in Lawrence’s D.C. office.

Brenda Lawrence art Park West Gallery

The second place winner, “Child of India,” by Madison Thomas.

Third place was awarded to Amanda Taylor, a senior at Groves High School, for her pencil drawing, “Southfield Backyard.” As the third place winner, her work will be displayed at Lawrence’s district office in Southfield.

Brenda Lawrence art Park West Gallery

The third place winner, “Southfield Backyard,” by Amanda Taylor.

All students received a congressional certificate for their participation in the competition.

“I want to say thank you to all the parents who have nurtured your children to just really motivate them in the skill and talents that they have,” Lawrence said.

Lawrence said the gallery was a fitting venue for the competition reception, as it not only gave all the young artists ideas and inspiration, but motivation as well.

“I chose this gallery because it is a gallery of what we call professional artists,” Lawrence said. “These are people who literally make a living selling their art, so some of you who love art so much…know that that is a career option as well.”

Please see the gallery below for more photos of the event:

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