Perpich News

Milo Clifton (Visual Arts 2025) Earns First Place in 5th Congressional District Art Competition

April 24, 2024

Clifton (second from left) is pictured with Rep. Ilhan Omar (left) and the other award recipients.

Congratulations to junior Milo Clifton (Visual Arts 2025) for earning first place in the 5th Congressional District Art Competition! In addition to receiving first place, Clifton’s piece will be displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year and he’ll receive two tickets to fly to D.C. to attend the National Arts Competition Ceremony and a tour of the Capitol. This year, Rep. Ilhan Omar received 24 art pieces from high schools within the 5th Congressional District. The competition is open to all high schoolers who live or attend school in Minnesota’s Fifth District, where Perpich Arts High School is located. Congratulations, Milo!

“I am so grateful for this opportunity, having my art recognized in that way is just insane to me,” said Clifton. “It was great to meet Rep. Omar and I’m very excited to be going to D.C.”

The winners were announced on April 23rd at an exhibition at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center. Included in the exhibition were seven student artworks by Perpich Visual Arts and Media Arts students. Pieces by Maizen Albrecht (Visual Arts 2024), Milo Clifton (Visual Arts 2025), Claire Houts (Visual Arts 2025), Evelyn McGuire (Media Arts 2025), Julia Pauly (Visual Arts 2025), Astrid Peterson (Media Arts 2025), and Summer Smith (Media Arts 2024) were chosen for their skill, vision, and relationship to this year’s theme.

The theme for the competition was North Star State of Mind. “In a world that can often feel divided by identity, reflect on what it means to be a Minnesotan and the values that define our state, such as community and resilience,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar. “How can art capture the spirit of Minnesota and inspire pride in our shared heritage? This year, I encourage students to embrace their roots and explore what being Minnesotan means to them.”

“It is a pleasure to see our students’ works featured in an outreach show in the community,” said Kathryn D’Elia, Studio Arts Chair and Visual Arts Instructor. “We have participated in this exhibition for several years and this year had particularly strong work that represented the show’s theme. Congratulations to all of our artists and families who participated and shared their work with our vibrant community.”

Clifton’s piece, “Summer in the Apostle Islands”, received first place in the competition.

In Milo’s artist statement for his piece, “Summer in the Apostle Islands”, he said, “This is a painting I made using acrylic paint, focusing on a triadic color scheme of magenta, cyan, and yellow. I kept some accent colors that are true to the reference while using the triadic colors more on the figure, boat, and sky. I used a reference picture from last summer when I went on a three-day sailing trip on Lake Superior with my friends which we do every year through a club. I wanted to use the color scheme to emphasize the happy summer feeling of being on a lake. Doing the club every summer makes me feel very connected to the community.”

Rebecca Bullen, Perpich Arts High School Principal, said, “I am thrilled that Milo’s work is being recognized and will be seen at the Capital every day. His piece clearly represents the beauty of summer in Minnesota. Milo’s framing and color choices evoke a sense of  warmth while the water reflection leaves me anticipating the cool jump in. A lovely piece; well done, Milo!”

Milo Clifton is from South St Paul, MN and is the child of Michelle Kitsmiller. Milo previously attended St. Paul Academy in St. Paul, MN.

The 5th Congressional District Art Competition is open to all high schoolers who live or attend school in Minnesota’s Fifth District. Each piece must meet the requirements outlined by the national organizers: no larger than 26 inches by 26 inches by 4 inches deep, and no heavier than 15 pounds. Accepted mediums include paintings, drawings, prints, mixed media, collages, computer-generated art, and photographs. Entries must be original in concept, design, and execution and may not violate any U.S. copyright laws. Work entered must be in the original medium.