CHISHOLM – A Chisholm High School senior was recently selected to have her artwork displayed at the Minnesota Senate Building in St. Paul.

A watercolor drawing by Hailee Elven, a senior in Elizabeth “Betsy” Carroll’s art class, was selected by Sen. David Tomassoni to represent District 6 in the My District, My Minnesota art competition introduced by the Minnesota State Senate last fall. District 6 includes parts of Itasca and St. Louis counties in northeastern Minnesota.

Diane Jungbauer, Assistant Director of Senate Information said this past fall the Senate sent out letter schools across Minnesota inviting any kindergarten through grade 12 students to send either a photo or drawing that depicted life in their district.

“Each senator then chose one submission they felt was a good representation for their district, and those submissions will hang in the Minnesota Senate Building for all of 2022,” Jungbauer said via email. An estimated 2,000 submissions were sent in from across the state, she said.

Carroll said she learned about the contest from Chisholm School Superintendent Adrian Norman, and felt it was a fun opportunity for students in her Advanced Art class. Each student in the class was assigned to develop a piece for the contest.

Carroll weighed in on Elven’s submission in an interview on Wednesday.

“She captured the Iron Range and the beautiful natural wonders that are here,” Carroll said.

Elven said when she and her classmates received their assignment, she put a lot of thought into things that reminded her of Chisholm and District 6.

“I put hunting and fishing stuff on there, and the bridge in Duluth,” Elven said.

A lake, an ATV, the Chisholm Bluestreak logo, were also part of her design, and serve as reminders of the region, she said. The region’s mining industry is also represented in Elven’s work that depicts a mine production truck and an image of the iconic Bruce Mine Headframe.

Elven shared her thoughts about having her work represent District 6.She said she enjoys art, and has made a point to make the subject part of her class schedule, yet until now she lacked some confidence in her ability.

Being notified that her work was selected by Sen. Tomassoni provided a boost in her confidence.

“It makes me feel pretty special, and I’m proud of how far I’ve come with my art — it’s a good feeling,” she said.

Starting next week the winning entries are being framed, and then are to be hung in district order to further illustrate the non-partisan nature of the program.

“It is simply astounding to see the artwork,” Jungbauer said.

The Senate plans to offer the My District, My Minnesota competition again next school year, and plans to send letters to schools across the state after the start of the school year sometime in the fall.


The Advanced Art students in Carroll’s class are brainstorming on a collaborative art project that they plan to present to Sen. Tomassoni.

Carroll said the class embarked on the project after learning that Tomassoni is a 1971 graduate of Chisholm High School.

“Senator Tomassoni is from Chisholm, and is a graduate of Chisholm High School — there’s something to be said about that,” Carroll, who is in her second year of teaching art at the school. “There’s so much artistic and creative talent in this community and the school that I feel very honored to be teaching students here.”


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