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Teen takes D.C. honors

Artist Bethany Stoltenburg drew a picture of her and her friend, Ashlyn Jasken, and it has been selected to hang in the U.S Capitol for a year. Stoltenburg will fly down to the Capitol to view her picture and that of other students from across the nation that have been given the same honor.1 / 3
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Next week, Bethany Stoltenburg will fly halfway across the country to see a picture she drew.

Of course, it's a little different when it's hanging in the United States Capital in Washington, D.C.

Stoltenburg, a recent Detroit Lakes High School graduate, took Dave Balfour's Advanced Drawing class last semester. For her final project, she drew a picture of her and friend Ashlyn Jasken, taken at a girlfriend's birthday party.

"It was just kind of a goofy picture," Stoltenburg said with a laugh.

When the drawing was displayed at Trinity Lutheran Church's Annual Student Art Show, it quickly became more than that.

During the art show, Stoltenburg was approached by a woman who told her that her drawing had been chosen to hang in the U.S. Capital building for a year, along with 434 other pieces of American artwork.

"(She) had been going from school to school looking for pieces," Stoltenburg said, adding that the woman had been told to look for something done in pencil with a realistic style that reflected actual life.

"It all happened super fast," Stoltenburg said of her piece being chosen. "I guess I couldn't believe it. It was just a little local art show."

On Tuesday, Stoltenburg and her mother will fly to Washington D.C., compliments of Southwest Airlines, to attend an all-day reception honoring the artists displayed.

"We get to see all of our art when it's hung up," she said.

According to Representative Collin Peterson's office, the artwork will be displayed directly below the U.S. Capital's rotunda for a year, where senators, representatives and the public will walk by it every day.

Beyond viewing her drawing in its exciting new setting, Stoltenburg plans to make the most of her time in the nation's capital city.

"I'm sure we'll do a lot of touring, and probably some shopping," she said. "Hopefully we'll just get a hang of the subways and everything. We're a little worried about that.

"Last week someone from the White House called my mom to set up a time to tour," she added, smiling.

Although this is certainly a new artistic experience for Stoltenburg, her interest in drawing dates back much further.

"I've drawn since I was little, but this was the first time I got to take any art classes at the high school because of my schedule," she said, adding that a busy schedule is one of the reasons she loves to draw.

"It never seemed like work to me. It was always relaxing," she said. "I can lose myself for hours drawing."

That's precisely what she did in creating this particular drawing. Her mother claims she stayed up until midnight every night until it was complete.

This drawing has a subject typical of Stoltenburg's art. Most of her drawings are based off pictures of friends or images of things she is interested in.

Stoltenburg feels that she owes thanks to Mr. Balfour for her recent artistic success, due to all he taught her about technique.

"It was fun to have him as a teacher," she said.

This fall, Stoltenburg will begin attending the University of Minnesota in Duluth. She plans to major in psychology, and potentially turn her art interest into a minor.

"I'd like to incorporate art into psychology," Stoltenburg, who wants to be a child psychologist, said. "With children I know they do some of that. I think it'd be fun in an interesting way."

Having already incorporated her own art into the nation's capital, Stoltenburg's goals seem well within reach.