South student’s artwork to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published May 20, 2015

 South student Melissa Brieden’s artwork took first place in the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Artistic Discovery Contest.

South student Melissa Brieden’s artwork took first place in the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives’ Artistic Discovery Contest.

Photo provided by Grosse Pointe South

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GROSSE POINTE FARMS — If the eyes are the windows to the soul, then Grosse Pointe South High School art student Melissa Brieden’s charcoal drawing “Spark of My Eye” serves as a window with a view.


Brieden’s piece depicts an eye with intricate, lifelike details. It earned her the first-place spot in the Artistic Discovery Contest, a contest sponsored by members of the U.S. House of Representatives. A winner from each district will have artwork displayed in the Cannon Tunnel, a walkway leading to the U.S. Capitol.


“It’s going to be displayed along with all of the other representatives’ (winning) pieces,” Brieden said.


The first-place winners will receive airfare for two to the national ceremony in June.


This is the third consecutive year that the honor has gone to a student from Grosse Pointe South.


Brieden’s artwork started as a typical classroom assignment before she personalized it and created a piece that took on a life of its own.


“I personalized it by actually putting my makeup on it,” she said. “I feel like it gives off emotion,” she added.


Brieden, who plans to be an art teacher after she finishes college, said her family is proud of her. She considers this her biggest recognition for her artwork so far.


She said her parents are both “supportive of my art.”


Brieden wasn’t the only South student earning some recognition in the contest.


The third-place winner, Elise Grever, is also a South student. Her piece will be on display in U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence’s Southfield office for the next year.


“It was a still-life,” Grever said. “It was actually my midterm from my sophomore year.”


She said South art teacher Kit Aro pushed her to keep working on the piece and to submit it for the competition.


“I’m really grateful that she pushed me to do that,” Grever said.


While she has plans to study pre-medicine once she graduates from high school, she doesn’t plan to stop creating art.


“I definitely want to keep it up as a hobby,” Grever said.


Her family is proud of her artistic accomplishment.


“When I told them, I think my mom’s response was, ‘Cool,’” Grever said. “They’re very happy, very proud of me.”


Brieden and Grever’s families are not the only ones who are proud.


“I’m so happy for them,” Aro said.

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