North Augusta artist gives keynote address at 35th Annual Congressional Art Competition reception

Congressman Wilson (R-SC) says the creativity learned from art education is the root of fields like STEM and business.
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - A North Augusta artist brushed up on her speaking skills at the U.S. Capitol Thursday. Yvonne Kinney was invited to give the keynote address for the 35th Annual Congressional Art Competition reception, which features the art of students across the nation.

"Paint, create, and enjoy,” Kinney told hundreds of students at the Capitol.

She was invited by Congressman Joe Wilson (R-SC) to deliver Thursday’s keynote address. She says art is everywhere, so young children need to learn about it.

"If a child isn’t given a chance to try that, then they don’t get a chance to be creative,” said Kinney.

With a constant pressure for younger generations to make money and live comfortably, Kinney says competitions that celebrate the arts, like this one, are important. It tells kids to follow their dreams.

"They’re not weird because they like art and like to do these type of’s a necessary part of life,” said Kinney.

Mary Aufuldish is a rising senior at Cardinal Newman High School in Columbia, SC. Congressman Wilson chose her piece “America the Beautiful” as the winner of his district. She hopes to take her love for art beyond high school.

"It’s one of my passions and I hope to pursue it in some way in my career,” said Aufuldish

"I actually took sculpture lessons when I was in the first grade. And I found out something; I wasn’t that good,” said Congressman Wilson to the group of students.

Wilson says with an emphasis on getting that STEM or business degree in the 21st century, it’s important to recognize that art is at the root of everything. Wilson thinks the competition shows off the best of American youth.

"It’s really an indication of the wonderful capabilities of the young people of the United States and the very positive for the young people of the United States,” said Wilson.

The art will hang in the Cannon Tunnel for the next year.