A part of New Mexico will soon adorn the halls of the United States Congress following the announcement of the 2020 Congressional Art Competition. The theme for this year’s competition was “The resilience of New Mexicans” and New Mexico Congressman Ben Ray Lujan was proud to announce Raton local student Kira Medina as the winner for the Third Congressional District. Medina will be a junior this upcoming year at Raton High School.
“Kira’s artwork depicts the community champions in new Mexico who are stepping up to serve our state,” said Lujan. “This is one of the programs that many students participate in. It’s a nationwide challenge to showcase artistic talent from students in each congressional district across the country. Winners are featured in the United States Capitol and it’s always great to see a piece of home hanging in the halls of Congress.”
Lujan said the purpose of this year’s theme was to showcase New Mexico’s strengths and abilities during challenging times.
“In New Mexico, arts and culture is such an important part of our economy and our community,” said NM Congressman Ben Ray Lujan. “One thing I am so envious of are people that can express themselves through art and music.”
Having won the contest, Medina will also have the opportunity to see it hanging in the halls of US Congress first hand.
“When she won and they also mentioned she’d be able to go to Washington D.C. and see it unveiled, that was pretty exciting,” said her father, Stevie Medina.
But with concerns and restrictions still outstanding regarding COVID-19 and protestors, the Capitol is still in the process of figuring out exactly when that unveiling will be.
“I still haven’t turned it in yet,” said the artist, Kira Medina, “because of all the things that are happening right now, they don’t really have a specific time of when it could be put up in the Capitol. We’re hoping for sometime at the end of summer or beginning of fall.”
The acrylic 24- by 24-inch painting is titled “Raising New Mexicans.” Medina said she was “ecstatic” to win adding she had difficulty landing on an idea, but once she did, it stuck.
“I’ve always seen those statues of people holding things on their backs and I always thought that was so interesting because if they were to let go of whatever they were holding up, it would collapse,” said Medina. “I got the idea to use that for the resilience of New Mexicans and if these front line people that we rely on were to let go of the structure of New Mexico, then our whole system would collapse as well.”
With her work hanging in the halls of Congress, Medina said she hoped it reminded all the Nation’s congressmen and representatives how important these workers were to us all.
“I hope that they realize that we really rely on these people to get us through these hard times,” said Medina. “The people are equally distributed in the painting so if one of them were to let go then the whole thing would fall over.”
Having been enrolled in an art class since her sixth grade, Medina said her family has always supported creative expression. Going into her junior year at Raton High School, her art teacher at the school is her mother, Melissa Medina.
“While other kids were playing video games, our parents wanted us to get into our imaginative and creative side,” said Medina. “We were always doing something to enhance those skills.”
With a national acknowledgement for her most recent work, Medina said she would like to continue to explore her possibilities as a professional artist moving forward, in whatever forms that may be.
““I’m not really sure how I want to do that,” said Medina. “I’ve gone back and forth between graphic design or just fine arts in general. I do feel like I want to take it a step further though. It’s always been a way to express myself. Growing up I’ve always been kind of shy and when I was little I had trouble with communication and art was my way of conveying my feelings. I’ve always relied on it and it’s always been there as a form of self expression.”