Submitted || Artist Phoebe Smith holds her piece, ‘Outlaws Like Us,’ with Chisum ISD’s Art teacher Mary Golden-Musick.

While charcoal dust settles on Chisum High School student Phoebe Smith’s masterpiece, “Outlaws Like Us,” Rep. John Ratcliffe announced earlier today Smith as the 2019 Congressional Art Competition winner.

Submitted “Outlaws Like Us,” Phoebe Smith’s piece done in charcoal, which will be hung at the U.S. Capitol Building for one year.

She said it is surreal to have won the award.

“I’ve never had anything this big happen to me before, I’m just a small town girl from Texas I’ve never been to the White House before,” Smith said. “I almost cried, it’s going to be an amazing honor for me, Outlaw, and my family.”

She said it is surreal to have won the award with her artwork inspired by Outlaw, her stallion.

“I’ve never had anything this big happen to me before. I’m just a small town girl from Texas,” Smith said. “I almost cried, it’s going to be an amazing honor for me, Outlaw and my family.”

Chisum ISD’s Art teacher Mary Golden-Musick commended Smith for her win.

“To win an art award of this magnitude speaks to her incredible talent,” said Musick. “We are very excited to represent Chisum [High School] Art Department at the Nation’s Capitol.”

Smith said she’s known Outlaw since he was a newborn, and “I had to part from him for four years, because my mom and my dad left, and I was sickened to be without them.”

Smith said she reconnected with Outlaw recently and “he was all grown up.

“I realized that if he could live without my parents I can as well,” Smith said. “Which lead to my piece ‘Outlaws Like Us.’”

Smith said the piece is a reminder she has someone who she can “go to when times are rough.”

Smith offers a tip to inspire other students who consider entering art competitions: “Never be afraid to enter a piece … you never [know] how it’s going to change your life.”

To her, Smith said, art is the greatest thing she’s done.

“I’ve never traveled much, been on a plane or crossed a state line,” Smith said. “Thanks to art, I get to see places I’ve never seen and get opportunities I never would have had I not started making art and believing in myself.”

Ratcliffe said he looks forward to Smith’s artwork being displayed in the capitol for people throughout “the country to see when they tour Washington, D.C.

“As always, we had an impressive display of talent from the students who participated in this year’s Congressional Art Competition. I’d like to commend Phoebe Smith for standing out as this year’s grand prize winner,” said Ratcliffe.

Visitors of the U.S. Capitol Building will have a chance to view Smith’s artwork for one year.

Chisum ISD submitted four different pieces by four different students, and all four pieces made the top 10. Those who submitted pieces were Smith, Abigail Froese, Kristen Parson and Amy Wieler.

Left to Right: Phoebe Smith, Kristen Parson, Abigail Froese and Amy Wieler

“We have entered this contest for several years, but have never won the top prize,” said Musick. “A big congratulations to all these students.”

Smith’s piece was selected from other high school students throughout the 18-county 4th District, and she will be invited to the unveiling and award ceremony in D.C. this summer.