BELOIT - Two Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS) students have their artwork displayed in Washington, D.C.
Senior Jessica Chavez won first place and senior Nathalia Zamora won second place in the Congressional Art Show. The girls said they had their works displayed in shows before, but this was their first time winning an award.
Zamora's portrait is hung in Congressman Mark Pocan's office and Chavez's 'Mex American Gothic' is hung in the tunnel on the way to the capitol building with all of the other winners from each congressional district.
Jessica Chavez is daughter of Velia and Eduardo Chavez and Nathalia Zamora is the daughter of Reyna Zaleta and Adalberdo Zamora.
Art teacher Elizabeth Carpenter said it's a huge honor for the senior students, who she said worked diligently over the years and found their true voice as artists. She said the win follows last year's Congressional Art Show award won by Kassumi Montiel-Reyes
The reception and award ceremony was Monday in Madison at the Goodwin library, with Chavez and Zamora in attendance.
"We met U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan which was pretty cool," Chavez said.
Zamora said her work titled "Calming Darkness" is a self-portrait of herself when she was depressed. She used green tones to symbolize calm, which was her exterior appearance during her inner struggles.
Chavez won for her work "Mex American Gothic." She explained it's based on the famous "American Gothic" painting, but with a more modern look. She replaced the traditional older couple with a younger interracial couple - herself and her boyfriend. She removed the house and put an apartment building as the backdrop.
"We were doing an assignment on appropriation, or making old paintings new," Chavez said.
Because of Chavez's first place win, she will get a free ticket to Washington, D.C. and will attend the opening ceremony for the show on June 24. She will be traveling to Washington, D.C. with her older sister.
Zamora said she's always enjoyed BMHS art classes.
"There's no judgment there," Zamora said.
"Everyone's really supportive of each other," Chavez said. "Ms. Carpenter is a big part of it. She's very open to what students want to do. It's all self-guided."
Zamora hopes to attend college to become a math teacher, and Chavez said she wants to study marketing and accounting in hopes of opening her own business.
Carpenter said she will miss the two successful seniors.
"I'm going to miss these guys so much. They both work so hard and grown so much," she said.