When she was around 7 years old a cousin started teaching Hannah Kessinger how to draw anime. She liked it, branched out from there, developed her own artistic style, and eventually decided art was what she wanted to do with her life – because she enjoys it.
The Hillsboro High School senior, who will attend The Modern College of Design in Kettering this fall, recently won a first place award in the 2018 Congressional Art Competition. The contest covered Congressmen Brad Wenstrup’s Second Congressional District.
“This is an incredible honor as the recipient is given two plane tickets to Washington, D.C. to attend a reception for all of the Congressional districts in the United States. Her art work will hang among the other award winners from each district in the Washington, D.C. Capital Building in the Cannon Tunnel for one year,” said Hillsboro High School art teacher Tanya Hendrix.
Anne Knellinger, a senior from Walnut Hills High School, won second place; Gilllian FaJack, a junior from Summit Country Day, won third place; and Aaron McCoy, a sophomore from Miami Valley Christian Academy, won the Viewer’s Choice Award. The runners-up will have their artwork displayed prominently in one of Wenstrup’s offices.
Kessinger said Hendrix has entered a lot of her students’ pieces in competitions. But Kessinger wasn’t expecting a call from Wenstrup’s office telling her she had won the Congressional contest. She said she didn’t answer the first call she received because she was busy, then someone called her mother, but she didn’t answer either. It was the next day when she returned the call that Kessinger was told she had won.
“I was really excited. It made me really happy because people enjoyed my art and what I do,” the daughter of Christine and Bryan Kessinger said. “It made me really proud of myself.”
The winning drawing is a self-portrait titled “Warm.”
“That’s mainly because in the painting there are a lot of warm tones and colors, and I figured I should use a simple title,” Kessinger said Thursday on her last day of high school. “I drink a lot tea, so it literally represents being warm and in a safe environment.”
She said she asked her mother to accompanying her on the trip to D.C.
“She was really excited because she doesn’t get to go many place because she’s a teacher,” Kessinger said, explaining that her mother is usually tied down with some type of teaching itinerary.
Her mother, Kessinger said, is a teacher at Lynchburg-Clay and her father teaches tractor-trailer driving.
This fall at The Modern College of Design, Kessinger said she plans to study illustration, mainly focusing on animation.
The Congressional Art Competition had 46 entries from across the Second District, and a panel of Cincinnati area artists selected the top three winning entries. The Viewer’s Choice Award was determined by online voting.
The district includes all of Adams, Brown, Clermont, Highland and Pike counties, and parts of Hamilton, Scioto and Ross counties.
“Thank you to each student who entered this year’s competition,” Wenstrup said in a news release. “I am proud to have so many talented artists in Ohio’s Second District. I congratulate Hannah for her winning piece and look forward to showing it off to those visiting the Capitol this year.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or [email protected]