Fort Lee family member among winners of Congressional Art Competition
1 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Melissa Elizabeth Rivero, a Fort Lee family member and recent Prince George High School graduate, won the 2022 Congressional Art Competition for Virginia's fourth Congressional District. Her drawing titled “Linked by Leaves” is the first digital piece to win locally It took her a month to produce the artwork on her phone with her fingers. (Courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Lee family member among winners of Congressional Art Competition
2 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Melissa Elizabeth Rivero, a Fort Lee family member and recent Prince George High School graduate, proudly poses with her drawing titled “Linked by Leaves,” which won the 2022 Congressional Art Competition for Virginia's fourth Congressional District. The artwork is now on display in the Cannon Congressional Office building tunnel in Washington, D.C. Rivero credits her school, teachers, classmates and friends for helping her become more aware of social issues and involved in community matters. Being a military child, she also noted, positively impacted her ability to be open-minded and more empathetic. (Courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL
Fort Lee family member among winners of Congressional Art Competition
3 / 3 Show Caption + Hide Caption – Melissa Elizabeth Rivero, a Fort Lee family member and recent Prince George High School graduate, sits with her drawing titled “Linked by Leaves” in front of Prince George High School in Prince George County, Va. The art piece won the 2022 Congressional Art Competition for Virginia's fourth Congressional District. The Fort Lee family member is the daughter of Frank Rivero, a Mortuary Affairs operations officer for the U.S. Army Quartermaster School at Fort Lee, Va. He has served the Army for over 42 years with both time in uniform and as a government civilian worker. (Courtesy photo) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEE, Va. – Melissa Elizabeth Rivero, daughter of a Quartermaster School instructor here, is among the winners of the 2022 Congressional Art Competition for Virginia's 4th Congressional District.

The top honorees were recognized June 24 at a ceremony in the nation’s capital. The Congressional Institute, founded in 1987, conducts the contest each year to “celebrate artistic discovery by the nation’s high school students,” as noted on its website. The winning artwork is displayed in the Cannon Tunnel of the U.S. Capitol for one year.

Rivero’s digital piece titled "Linked by Leaves” shows a portrait of a woman with lines of color streaking down her neck and across her shoulders. It took her a month to produce the artwork on her phone with her fingers.

The recent Prince George High School graduate chose a picture she found on the internet of an African-American woman to work from, saying it was both symmetrical and asymmetrical, but also because “people of color and women oftentimes get discriminated against, overlooked and judged for their identity or appearance.”

She wanted to show support for marginalized people, she further emphasized.

“I wanted to reaffirm in this painting that no one should be judged or discriminated against based on how they look,” Melissa said.

Rivero credits her school, teachers, classmates and friends for helping her become more aware of social issues and involved in community matters. Being a military child, she also noted, positively impacted her ability to be open-minded and more empathetic.

Her father, Frank Rivero, a Mortuary Affairs operations officer in the Joint Mortuary Affairs Center, has served the Army for over 42 years with both time in uniform and as a government civilian worker.

Frank said he and his spouse Petra are fortunate and proud of their daughter’s hard work. In addition to her contest win, Melissa finished fifth out of 405 students in her class with a 4.6 grade point average.

“There is so much love in Melissa’s heart, and we support her work to be community minded,” Mr. Rivero said.

Melissa has been accepted into Full Sail University, which specializes in media entertainment, to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Game Art. She also has set her sights on attendance at Virginia Commonwealth University for a communicative arts degree.

Since the Artistic Discovery competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. The teens submit entries to their state representative’s office, and panels of district artists select the winners. Only the first place entries are subsequently displayed at the capitol.