Cami with her art entry. (Photo courtesy of U.S. Rep. Fred Upton's Office)
At the end of this month, an OHS student will head to our national capital to share the story behind her Congressional winning art piece and be a part of a special recognition.

What started as a present turned into a national recognition. Cami Hoogstraten won the Congressional Art Contest for the 6th District and will get to fly with a guest to Washington, D.C. for an art exhibit with other winners from all over the country. It will hang in the Capitol for a year.

Her art piece begins with a picture she took at a Potawatomi Pow Wow in Dowagiac, “I am Potawatomi and my aunt takes us to pow wows a lot. She’s a photographer and she let me borrow her camera during it,” she explains. She took a picture of a male fancy dancer and made that a project for her computer imaging graphic arts class. She wanted to do typography, so she replaced the colors in her photo with words. Some are Potawatomi words, some are those words translated into English and some are just random words. The detail is extraordinary, “I loved doing the headdress with all the colors, the blended together and it was really pretty and really fun for me.”

When she finished her project, her teacher, Matt Grile, suggested she enter it into the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts Student Show. That entry also entered her into the Congressional Art Contest. Her piece won out of 50 entries. She attended a ceremony at the KIA; that’s when she says it felt real what she won, “It’s really exciting that I get a piece of my heritage in the Capitol for a year and something that I accomplished as a sophomore.”

She flies out to DC at the end of June; she’s taking her aunt as her guest.