Photo by Curt Yeomans
Campbell High School student Emmanuel Rivas (left) was overcome with excitement after Congressman David Scott (D-Ga.) announced the youth had won first-place honors in the 13th Congressional District Art Competition, on Saturday.
Emmanuel Rivas was speechless for several minutes as he walked through a crowd of approximately 100 people at the Arts Clayton Gallery, in Jonesboro, on Saturday.
Moments earlier, Congressman David Scott (D-Ga.) had announced that Rivas — who is a student at Campbell High School, in Smyrna — had won first place in the annual 13th Congressional District Art Competition. He won for his painting, “One Half Can Equal a Whole.”
As Rivas approached the congressman, he clasped his hands over his mouth, and was overcome with jubilation as the crowd applauded his achievement.
Finally, the young artist was able to compose himself long enough to make a few remarks, but every word was filled with excitement, and just a hint of disbelief at what had just happened.
“I can’t stop smiling right now,” Rivas told the audience. “I’m just really happy.”
Rivas’ painting came out on top in a competition that contained entries from 75 students from high schools across Scott’s congressional district. His painting featured a white person, and a black person holding hands underneath a giant brain. Each person’s face and heart is covered by a question mark.
“The judges said [it had] nice handling of paint and texture that works with the subject matter ... [and it had an] interesting idea involving the mind and the brain, implying a statement on race, collaboration and harmony,” Scott said, as he read the judges’ comments aloud.
Rivas, who was still a little overcome with excitement, then thanked his fellow participants, and expressed his pride in his piece. “I tried really hard, and put all of my heart into it,” he said.
With the win, Rivas received a plethora of prizes. His artwork is set to be hung in the U.S. Capitol building, in Washington, D.C., for a year, as part of an exhibit of work done by winners of art competitions in other congressional districts.
Southwest Airlines has pledged to donate plane tickets, so Rivas and his family can attend the opening of that exhibit.
He will also receive a $3,000 scholarship offer to the Savannah College of Art and Design, a $10,000 scholarship offer to the Art Institute of Atlanta, and a one-year Young Person’s Membership to the High Museum of Art.
“When you run the football, you can get a scholarship, or when you shoot the hoop, you can get a scholarship,” Scott said. “But, we want to show that ... we can provide scholarships to those students who sit, and bring out their creative juices, and their artistic skills as artists.”
In addition to Rivas, other winners were: Mundy’s Mill High School student, Montavious Whiters (second place for “Captains of my Soul”); Strong Rock Christian Academy student, Morgan Dallas (third-place for “Speak Loud”); Pebblebrook High School student, Akayla Hill (fourth-place for “Self Portrait”), and Clayton County Fine Arts Magnet High School student, Torian Harris (fifth-place for “Divine Intervention.”)
Whiters received a $5,000 scholarship offer to the Art Institute of Atlanta, and his artwork is set to be hung in Scott’s Washington, D.C. office. Dallas received a $2,500 scholarship offer to the Art Institute, and her work is scheduled to be hung at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Hill received a $1,000 Arts Clayton scholarship, and her piece is slated to be hung in Scott’s Jonesboro constituent office.
Harris received one week of free art classes at the Art Institute, and his work will be hung in Scott’s Smyrna constituent office.