KC teen’s painting to be displayed in US Capitol after winning congressional art contest

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- With little formal training, one 14-year-old KC girl is now receiving national attention for her artistic talent, and it's a talent that will have her literally showing her work in the halls of power.

"It was a way to express myself," Bronwynne Miller said of her self-portrait that has a powerful message.

The 14-year-old from Center High School is the artist behind the piece "Let Me Tell You." It will now hang in the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. for the next year.

"I almost wanted to cry because I don't know? It was so unreal," she said.

Bronwynne was named the 2018 winner of Rep. Emanuel Cleaver's art competition for the 5th Congressional District. She's the first student at Center High School to receive the award. In fact, before Bronwynne, no Center student has even placed in the contest.

Bronwynne Miller

"I was just over the moon," Center teacher Jon Dandurand said. "I new her artwork was phenomenal."

Bronwynne's inspiration comes from another powerful portrait.

"I kept the face blank like a lot of Amy Sherald's work," she said.

Sherald is the artist behind the recent portrait of Michelle Obama.

"When we saw that work we were both inspired by it," XXX said. "It was a really great opportunity to talk about the power of women and talk about the power of difference in individuality."

Bronwynne uses art to channel her energy. She talks with her hands, something portrayed in her portrait.

"Sometimes my mind just goes everywhere at a million miles an hour," the 14-year-old said.

"When our kids come through, they have really powerful things to say because they have really challenging lives sometimes," Dandurand said. "And they have a lot to work through, and we do that through art."

Bronwynne will attend a reception in Washington D.C. when her painting is unveiled.

She also received a scholarship to Savannah College of Arts and Design in Georgia and a certificate for any arts class at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In the future, she hopes to become a textile designer.