Congressman Gallagher Selects Stover’s Artwork for His Conference Room


Elizabeth Bolin, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

You may have seen senior Rachel Stover’s artwork at Cabaret Night, in the art case, on somebody’s snapchat story… and now you will be able to see a painting of hers in the office of U. S. Congressman Mike Gallagher.

Stover has loved art for as long as she can remember.

“I got my first art award in kindergarten when my teacher picked my painting to be displayed in a coffee shop with some other student art.”

Her first commissioned art piece was for our very own Mrs. Gilson of her children.

Art has always come naturally to Stover.

“I like it because it is more hands-on than other subjects and can be relaxing. If I am having a bad day I can just work on a painting for hours and not have to focus on anything else for awhile.”

Now that she has started doing commissioned pieces for people, Stover has found that one of her favorite parts of being an artist was giving people special, personal gifts.

“When I finish a project and I can finally give it to the person, they are always so happy and I like being able to do something nice for them.”

Being an artist is not always easy. Stover admits that it can sometimes be tedious and time consuming. “I am very self-critical with art, so I always want it to be as accurate as possible.”

Recently, Stover spent 107 hours on a painting for Courtney Tilkins, the longest time she has spent on a painting. “It was worth it, but it is really hard to stay motivated and finish something when it takes this long.”

Stover typically works in realism.

“I think I have become very good at doing things realistically and learning to take my time that they will turn out the way I want. I’ve learned a lot of patience.”

Stover sometimes has to remind herself that no one will notice if things are not 100% perfect.

Stover’s favorite medium is oil paints because she has had a lot of practice with them.

“I like to use oil paint for realistic painting because it stays wet a lot longer than acrylic paint so I have more time to blend and mix colors.”

So how did Stover’s piece end up in Mike Gallagher’s office? She participated in the Congressional Art Contest, a contest where she placed third last year.

“It’s a contest that takes place every year for every district, and you can submit an original piece to be judged and have a chance to have your art displayed in Washington DC.”

Second and third place have their work displayed in Mike Gallagher’s Appleton and Green Bay offices.

“My mom encourages me to enter something each year, and although I did not technically win, Mike Gallagher asked me if he could still have my painting to display in his new conference room because he liked it so much.”

Gallagher goes to the ceremony each year. This year, it was at the Trout Museum in Appleton. Stover was even given a shout out in his speech.

This is not Stover’s first (and certainly not the last) honor she has received for her artwork. She won first place twice in the Brown County Martin Luther King Jr. poster contest, received the Kiwanis Club of Green Bay Art Award, and won best of pastel, sculpture, and painting (respectively) at Cabaret Night. This year she won first place overall at the event.

Next year, Stover will be continuing her art career at St. Norbert. She wants to someday open an interior design business and also hopes to study abroad.