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placeholder June 8, 2015   •   VOL. 53, NO. 11   •   Oakland, CA

Taylor Griffith of St. Joseph Notre Dame High School receives an award for his "Oakland in my Dreams," from U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland. The artwork will hang for a year in the halls of Congress.

SJND grad's artwork headed to Congress

If your summer travels take you to the U.S. Capitol, you will have the opportunity to see artwork by a recent graduate of St. Joseph Notre Dame High School.

Taylor Griffith, a member of the Class of 2015, received a surprise visit from U.S. Rep Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, May 8 at the Alameda school. Lee came bearing the news that Griffith's entry in the annual Congressional Arts Competition had been selected to represent the 13th Congressional District in the halls of Congress.

Griffith's photograph, "Oakland in My Dreams," will be displayed for a year in the heavily traveled corridor that connects the Cannon House Office Building with the U.S. Capitol.

His work was selected by a panel of artists from the Oakland Art Commission from among works by student artists from high schools across the district, which includes Alameda, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, Oakland, Piedmont and San Leandro. "This competition is extremely important because it highlights the talents of so many young artists throughout the East Bay," Lee said in a statement.

Griffith's photograph was made using a high dynamic range technique, he said, "to capture the dream-like tone I wanted to set to the image."

His homeroom teacher, Elizabeth Norris had asked him to capture an image of a tree for the school's Prisms literary magazine.

"I set out to create the image that not only came across dreamy, but spoke to a few issues in our state and world today," Griffith said. "Lake Merritt, where this image was taken, is the oldest bird sanctuary in America. It is apparent in the trees there are birds' nests and along the base of the tree the white birds are the endangered white pelican."

The image also addresses California's severe drought. "I wanted the image to speak to the fact of how important water is," he said. "I entered it into the congressional competition because I felt it represented our district and it had distinct qualities that made it pop! I was fortunate enough to have won the honor."

Griffith and his family will fly to Washington, DC, this month to attend a reception with members of Congress and see his image on display.

This fall, he will enroll at the University of La Verne in Southern California, where he will double major in photography and journalism.

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