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Pine River-Backus student wins annual Congressional Art Competition

Raena Hanneken has placed in the contest in past years.

Split rock light house painting.jpg
"Scenic Sunset at Split Rock" by Pine River-Backus ninth-grader Raena Hanneken won first place in the annual Congressional Art Competition on May 4, 2022.
Contributed / Raena Hanneken
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PINE RIVER — Pine River-Backus ninth-grader Raena Hanneken won first place in the 41st annual Congressional Art Competition with her work, "Scenic Sunset at Split Rock."

Raena Hanneken.jpg
Raena Hanneken has placed at least twice in the annual Congressional Art Competition with her first place win announced May 4, 2022, by Congressman Pete Stauber's office.
Contributed

"I'm pretty proud," Hanneken said. "I won second last year but I was hoping to get first this time."

Eighth District Congressman Pete Stauber announced the results May 4. Judges chose Hanneken’s painting, “Scenic Sunset at Split Rock,” as the winner from all the unique submissions from students across Minnesota’s Eighth Congressional District.

“Scenic Sunset at Split Rock” will hang in the U.S. Capitol alongside the winning artwork from other congressional districts across the country.

Hanneken said she has seen where they are displayed in a tunnel leading from the Capitol Building to the U.S. Senate offices.

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"It's really cool," Hanneken said. "I got to see other paintings when I went down there. I just wanted to be up there too, so I submitted mine."

Hanneken has placed in the contest twice before. Her first entry into a middle school competition was of the family dog, Maisie, a black Lab, sitting in a canoe on a Minnesota Lake. In 2021, she entered a realistic painting of Babe the Blue Ox, titled "Minnesota's Babe (the Blue Ox)," which won second place.

Barnum High School freshman comes in first.

Stauber said in a news release: “Congratulations Raena on your winning work of art, and thank you to all of the very talented students who participated in this year’s Congressional Art Competition. All of the submissions this year were so special, and I am always so incredibly proud of the artistic talent coming out of northeast Minnesota. I look forward to seeing this beautiful scene from Split Rock displayed in the Halls of Congress every time I walk to the Capitol to vote.”

The Congressional Art Competition takes place each spring. Students are encouraged to visit Stauber’s website to learn more.

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