Tafari Dempster Wins First Place in NJ-11 Congressional Art Competition

May 7, 2019
Press Release
Montclair, NJ – Whippany Park High School Senior Tafari Dempster won first place in Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill’s first annual Congressional Art Competition. Tafari’s self-portrait “Euphoria” will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for the coming year alongside more than 430 other winning works from every congressional district in the country.
“I knew we had talented students in our community, but seeing all of the pieces on display really showed the level of artistic excellence we have here in New Jersey,” said Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill. “Tafari’s piece conveys an infectious sense of joy, and I am thrilled it will hang in the U.S. Capitol for the next year."
Tafari will attend the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in the fall, and will receive a $3,000 a year scholarship from SCAD as a result of his winning submission to the art competition.
The following students earned distinction for their pieces: 
  • First Place - Tafari Dempster, Whippany Park High School, "Euphoria" 
  • Second Place - Marnie Shick, Lacordaire Academy, “Eden"
  • Third Place - Angeleah Rockford, Nutley High School, "The Obscure"

Each spring, the Congressional Institute sponsors a nationwide high school visual art competition to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation and in each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Students submit entries to their representative’s office, and panels of district artists select the winning entries. Winners are recognized both in their district and at an annual awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

Tafari Dempster stands next to his winning piece

Tafari Dempster


Rep. Sherrill and Marnie Shick from Lacordaire Academy and her piece, “Eden"

Rep. Sherrill and Marnie Shick from Lacordaire Academy and her piece, “Eden"