Faith Academy artists 1st, 2nd in Congressional competition


MARBLE FALLS — A painting that will be on display at the U.S. Capitol for one year will, in a way, be there by accident.

Faith Academy of Marble Falls student Hayley Hand first started her painting for another contest.

When it wasn’t finished in time, she was told about the Congressional Art Competition, open to students in each Congressional district.

Hand’s submission, “Above and Below,” won the contest in U.S. Rep. Roger Williams’ 25th Congressional District. The acrylic painting depicts a bass underwater and a red-eared slider turtle on land.

Hand said she did not expect her entry to win.

“One of my dreams is to make beautiful art for people to admire,” Hand said. “I also get to meet the congressman. It’s a big deal for me.”

'Above and Below' by Hayley Hand
‘Above and Below’ by Hayley Hand

Hand said the painting was just her second time to work with acrylics. The fish’s tail splashes just above the water’s surface, giving it an element of movement.

“When I stepped back from it, I loved it. It had everything: motion, vibrant colors,” she said.

Another Faith Academy junior placed second in the competition. Chase Muller’s entry “Austin at Riverside” imagines the intersection in the state’s capitol in a post-apocalyptic setting in which streets and buildings are overgrown with vegetation in the absence of people.

Muller’s entry was drawn with pen and ink.

“What I liked about it, it’s not as it is now,” Muller said. “You take something that exists and make it something that doesn’t exist.”

'Austin at Riverside' by Chase Muller
‘Austin at Riverside’ by Chase Muller

Laurie Berg, secondary art teacher at Faith Academy, said four students entered the competition.

“I think all were really strong. It was really wonderful for Hayley,” Berg said. “It was a fun moment for her.”

Berg said Muller is constantly be creating.

“Chase is just super-prolific,” she said. “He’ll come back to school after the summer and have 30 paintings to show me.”

Surprised that she won, Hand said she was even more surprised her painting was picked above Muller.

“I was impressed I won and ahead of someone I admire a lot,” Hand said. “It didn’t surprise me that he got second, what surprised me was that I won.”