Sophie Cowden honored for 'Squishy Face' in Salem

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Lakeridge High student Sophie Cowdens Squishy Face was honored with the grand prize in the Kurt Schrader Congressional Art Competition. An 18-year-old Lakeridge High School student pocketed the grand prize in the Kurt Schrader Congressional Art Competition.

Senior Sophie Cowden was lauded during a ceremony last week in Salem for her acrylic painting, “Squishy Face.”

The work is of a girl holding up her hands and squishing her face, and it’s a bright, playful piece, said her father, Steve Cowden.

It will hang in the U.S. Capitol for the next year with more than 400 pieces of art from students throughout the nation. There will be an awards ceremony within the coming weeks in Washington, D.C.

“I’m really proud of her,” Cowden said. “It’s awesome. I’m a professional artist, too, so I never pushed her because I know it’s a difficult field to get into. She just did it on her own.”

She plans to major in art at the University of Montana this fall.

Lakeridge junior Wolfgang Schildmeyer received second place and Lakeridge junior Megan Johansen took home third.

Schildmeyer and Johansen’s winning entries will be displayed in U.S. Rep. Kurt Schrader’s offices for a year.

The Congressional Institute, a not-for-profit corporation, sponsors the contest for high schoolers across the country. More than 650,000 students have participated since the contest’s creation in 1982. Students submit works to their representative’s office, and panels of experts select the winners. Each congressional district has a winner.

Media categories include: paintings, drawings, collages, prints, mixed media, computer-generated art works and photos. Each entry must be original.

Artwork must be two-dimensional and no larger than 28 by 28 by 4 inches and no heavier than 15 pounds when framed, and they must be framed.


Learn more

For more information on the competition, visit or call field representative Megan McKibben, at Schrader’s Oregon City office, at 503-557-1324.

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