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April 27, 2023

Painting by Badin’s Paige Harris headed to the U.S. Capitol

Paige Harris remembers getting a watercolor art kit for Christmas when she was in junior high, with the instructions to learn how to paint using watercolors on YouTube.

The junior at Badin High School is a good learner – her watercolor painting, “Urban Renewal,” won the Congressional Art Competition grand prize for the Ohio 8th District, and will hang in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for the next year.

“I was shocked,” said Harris after being announced as the winner during a reception at the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park in Hamilton on Saturday, April 22. “They had gone through a lot of winning names, and no Badin student had been mentioned. Then they got to the grand prize – and said my name!”

Warren Davidson, U.S. Representative from the Ohio 8th District, was on hand to present the award. Harris and her family will have the opportunity to attend a special reception in Washington D.C. in June.

“Paige has so much talent and has developed a strong style,” said Sarah Daniels, the chair of Badin’s Fine Arts Department. “Working with watercolor requires extreme patience, and maturity. And Paige is open to learning new techniques all the time.”

Harris’s winning painting, “Urban Renewal,” has gotten a lot of attention. It earned a previous first place award at the annual show, “Tomorrow’s Artists Today,” at the Middletown Arts Center earlier this year.

“I like everything about it,” said Harris, who based the painting on a photo she had taken in Florida. “I liked that it was a piece that was my own; my own idea.”

Asked why she thought others had been taken by the painting, Harris said, “I think it’s different than most pieces. Watercolor is not all that common of a media to use.”

It is, however, relatively common to Harris, the daughter of Rob and Maria Harris of Fairfield. In fact, she and her older sister, Grace, a sophomore in college, have an informal business painting watercolors of houses and pets for others.

“One day I decided to paint a picture of a house,” Paige recalled, “and my mom put it up on Instagram. After that, people started reaching out.”

“I definitely enjoy having Paige in class,” Daniels said. “She constantly looks for ways to improve her work. She is very good at seeing mistakes – something that others might not see – and fixing them. She’s great to work with – really, I learn from her at times.”

It’s a mutual admiration society, as Harris calls Daniels, “an amazing teacher – she helps me so much.”

Harris, also a talented soccer player, added, “It means a lot to me that people other than my friends and family see something in my art.”

A graduate of Sacred Heart School in Fairfield, Harris plans to take Art IV and Fashion Illustration classes at Badin as a senior. She sums it up: “I like art; I like painting. I feel like I can do it at any time. It’s very calming. I enjoy seeing what comes out of it – creative things.”

Contact: Dirk Q. Allen, or (513) 869-4490

Additional Press Releases


Badin High School junior Paige Harris holds her winning painting, 'Urban Renewal,' after it was selected as the Congressional Art Competition winner for the Ohio 8th District. She is flanked by Badin art teachers Sarah Daniels and Michelle Martin-McDulin, and Badin President Brian Pendergest. The painting will hang in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., for the next year. Contributed photo.