ZEELAND, Mich. (WOOD) — A Zeeland East High School student was selected as the winner of the 2022 Congressional Art Competition. 

U.S. Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Zeeland, announced that Biruk Kwantes’ piece “Roll of the Dice” took first place in Michigan’s 2nd District. 

“We had an assignment in art class, and it was a portrait we had to do. It had to be a perspective portrait,” Kwantes said. “We had to come up with different ideas, and I came up with a dice idea where we just throw dice out.”

He created his piece using colored pencils. Kwantes said his teacher submitted student entries into the Artistic Discovery competition, hosted each year by the Congressional Institute. 

Entries are sent to the offices of representatives around the nation, and panels of artists in each district select the winning entries. 

Kwantes attended a reception for the top 12 finalists in the 2nd District, where he learned his piece earned first place. 

“When he announced my name, I was like, oh wow, that’s something. I’m very surprised, very grateful,” Kwantes said. 

Winners are recognized in their district and at an annual awards ceremony in Washington. The winning works are displayed for one year at the U.S. Capitol. 

This year’s runner-up was “You Need to Look Up,” created by Zeeland West student Reyna Lopez, and “Just two Sisters Bonding,” by Zeeland East student Olivia Reed placed third.

Kwantes will receive two plane tickets to travel to Washington in June, where he will get a chance to see his artwork on display with high schoolers from all over the U.S.