Category: Wall

Rep. Chris Smith’s Annual High School Art Competition Opens ‘Virtually’

April 24, 2020

HAMILTON TOWNSHIP, NJ (MERCER) – For the first time ever, the annual Congressional Art Competition held by Rep. Chris Smith as part of a national competition for his district’s high school students, will be a “virtual” online show to ensure the safety of students, parents, teachers and the interested public.

    In response to the coronavirus national emergency, the artwork, which is normally displayed for a month at the Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital Hamilton’s Lakefront Gallery, will be posted on Smith’s congressional website ensuring that the students who have worked for many months can still take part in the national competition.

    “For these young student artists whose school year has been turned upside down by coronavirus, I am happy we found a way forward and I am grateful to the parents, judges and teachers for making needed adjustments,” Smith said.

    “We received strong support for a virtual art competition rather than cancel the show outright due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Smith said. “Safety is paramount, and a virtual gallery enables us to proceed safely not only for the students and parents, but for the patients and workers at RWJ-Hamilton, which has in the past, graciously hosted the show,” he said.

“I am delighted that this year’s show wasn’t canceled, but continued as an online competition,” said Wall High School art teacher, Jill Alexander, who has been preparing her students to enter the show every year for the past six years. “Students in the 4th district are thankful for the great show that Congressman Chris Smith puts on each year, but especially this year because of the challenges everyone is facing.”

“We love going to Robert Wood Johnson’s impressive gallery, and unfortunately that just wasn’t possible this year. My students start working in September preparing their best artwork to submit, and this show is the highlight of the year for us. 

“High school students across the country will miss the opportunity to participate in many events this year, including proms, sporting events and even graduation,” Alexander said. “We are really pleased the art competition survives.” 

             The 2020 show will be exhibited in a virtual art gallery, will use online judging, with winners to be announced in May. Smith’s three-member team of professional judges, whose works are also normally displayed at the show, will also have artwork posted in an online gallery.

     This year, students who place in the competition—as best-of-show, and first, second and third runners-up and honorable mentions—will receive ribbons and all participants will be mailed Congressional Certificates, instead of being presented them in person.

   The best-in-show winner will be displayed in the Capitol Building in Washington along the busy public corridor/tunnel between the Cannon House Office Building and the Capitol Building for one year with other winners from across the nation. All the artwork entered into Smith’s competition this year will be displayed in his online gallery for one year.

   Every year the Congressional Institute sponsors this national high school art competition to recognize and foster artistic talent in each congressional district. Since the competition began in 1982, more than 650,000 high school students have participated. Participation in the contest is at the discretion of each Member office. Currently, the Institute plans to accept the top winning artwork from every congressional show in America by June 18 and hold a reception in Washington on July 22.

     For information about the 2020 NJ-04 show or to view the 2019 and prior year winners visit Congressman Smith’s Congressional Art Competition web page.

Rep. Chris Smith Works with NJ State Troopers’ & NJ Nurses’ Unions to Obtain PPE Donations

April 16, 2020

WALL, NJ (MONMOUTH)–An ongoing donation drive headed by the New Jersey State Troopers union and the Health Care Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE; representing registered nurses and other health care workers) got a major boost this week receiving thousands of Personal Protection Equipment (gloves and suits ) steered their way by local congressman, Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04).

The PPEs were donated by Ansell, an international healthcare products company with a headquarters in Iselin, NJ.

“The troopers and nurses launched their donation drive to solicit donations of PPE, and Ansell’s contributions are a welcome addition,” said Rep. Chris Smith. “A big thanks to the troopers and HPAE for working together to run this donation drive and bring more protective equipment to those working on the front lines of the coronavirus outbreak.”

Because their PPE supplies were dangerously low, the State Troopers Fraternal Association (STFA) and the HPAE began asking for donated gloves, gowns and other PPE used by first responders and health care professionals. Wayne Blanchard, President of 1,500-member STFA, and Debbie White, RN, President of the 14,000-member HPAE reached out to Smith after seeing news reports about Smith’s work with Ansell to win the release large quantities of gloves held up since October in U.S. Customs and Border Patrol.

“We’d like to thank Congressman Smith for his initiative in cutting through the red tape to get supplies to first responders,” said STFA President Wayne Blanchard. “We’d like to thank our partners in the business community, particularly Ansell, for supporting our first responders during this unprecedented pandemic.”

“As COVID-19 continues to spread across New Jersey, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is needed in every hospital, nursing home and healthcare facility,” said HPAE President White. “We are grateful for Congressman Smith’s efforts to bring these supplies to frontline caregivers. These supplies from Ansell will help to ensure that healthcare workers stay healthy and on the frontlines of the COVID-19 battle.” 

“Ansell is truly honored to support the STFA and HPAE by donating medical exam gloves and protective suits to help protect these heroes as they protect our communities,” said Renae Leary, Chief Commercial Office of the Americas of the Australian-based Ansell. “Seeing as our America’s headquarters is in Iselin, NJ, we are acutely aware of the continued need for PPE and are proud to be able to support our local community.”

Blanchard said items may be dropped off at STFA’s headquarters at 2634 Route 70 in Manasquan (Wall, Township) Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For drop off arrangements or other questions, donators may call (732) 528-6388 or email info@staf.org. Monetary donations to purchase PPE for the drive are also accepted, Blanchard said. Click here for the STFA and HPAE’s press release announcing the drive.

In a separate ongoing effort, Smith has been working to help obtain medical masks for New Jersey from the Taiwanese government. Also, on Friday, a Hong Kong human rights organization donated 4,000 surgical masks to CentraState Medical Center in Freehold in Smith’s district, as a thank you for his longstanding support of Hong Kong in its struggle to stay free and secure in the shadow of its huge and hostile neighbor, the People’s Republic of China.