Tiffany Vargas Awarded Grand Prize for Teen Portrait Competition

National Portrait Gallery Received Record Number of Entries—449—from 34 States Across the Nation
December 9, 2015
News Release

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The winner of grand prize for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery Teen Portrait Competition is Tiffany Vargas, 17, from the Bronx, New York City, for her charcoal-and-graphite work titled “Deep Thought.

The Portrait Gallery received a record number of entries, 449, from 34 states across the nation for this third annual online competition. The artwork by Vargas will be displayed at the museum just outside of the museum’s exhibition “The Outwin 2016: American Portraiture Today,” March 12, 2016, through Jan. 8, 2017.

Three more teenagers received prizes under three categories: painting and drawing, photography and video. The award for painting and drawing was given to Rebecca Siqueiros, 17, from Miami Shores, Fla., for her acrylic on canvas work “Contentment.” Alisha Solaiman, 16, from Clarksville, Md., was awarded the prize for photography for “Crossed.” Ashley Marsh, 15, from Washington, D.C., was given the prize for video for her work, “Who I am: Ashley Marsh.”

Ten honorable mentions were also awarded in two categories (ages 13–15 and ages 16–17). These names are published on the National Portrait Gallery website.

Created under the rubric “for teens, by teens,” Washington, D.C., metro-area teenagers designed the competition for their peers under the guidance of the museum’s Education Department. The theme for the 2016 competition was “interact and interaction.” Teens needed to consider how they interact with their subject and the art of portraiture as well as any interactions that take place between the subject(s) and the setting. 

Applications were submitted online and evaluated by a panel of judges composed of nine teens, National Portrait Gallery Curator Dorothy Moss and guest juror Sheldon Scott, a multidisciplinary artist in Washington.

This program has been made possible through the support of the Honorable Richard Blumenthal and Mrs. Cynthia M. Blumenthal, Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation and the Reinsch Family Education Endowment.

National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery tells the multifaceted story of America through the individuals who have shaped its culture. Through the visual arts, performing arts and new media, the Portrait Gallery portrays poets and presidents, visionaries and villains, actors and activists whose lives tell the American story.

The National Portrait Gallery is part of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for American

Art and Portraiture at Eighth and F streets N.W., Washington, D.C. Smithsonian Information:

(202) 633-1000. Website: Connect with the museum at @NPG, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram and Tumblr.


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Bethany Bentley

(202) 633-8293