Garrett Klein, a junior at TMHS, recalls his reaction to finding out his painting will hang in Washington D.C. “I was just blown away,” Klein said. “I was in absolute shock.” Klein thanked Angela Imboden, Nancy Lehnhart and MK MacNaughton for making the success possible. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Garrett Klein, a junior at TMHS, recalls his reaction to finding out his painting will hang in Washington D.C. “I was just blown away,” Klein said. “I was in absolute shock.” Klein thanked Angela Imboden, Nancy Lehnhart and MK MacNaughton for making the success possible. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

From Juneau with love

Local artist’s work to hang in Washington, D.C.

Over the next year, America’s lawmakers and visitors to the U.S. Capitol building will pass by a bit of Juneau, compliments of Garret Klein, a rising senior at Thunder Mountain High School.

Klein’s award-winning painting “The Patient Lady” was recently awarded the Congressional Award in the 2021 All-State Art Competition sponsored by the Alaska School Activities Association. The painting will hang alongside other Congressional Award-winning artwork in the busy corridor that connects the Cannon House office building to the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

“I was just blown away. I was in absolute shock,” he said, in a phone interview recalling his feelings when he learned that his painting had been selected for the honor.

TMHS student earns top billing in duck stamp contest

He said that he had started the painting at the outset of quarantine last year, but he quickly set it aside as his desire to paint diminished as the lockdown continued.

When school resumed, his art teacher, Angela Imboden, nudged him to work on the painting and told him she was submitting it for the contest.

“I felt a surge of inspiration come back,” he said, adding that he worked through the night to meet the submission deadline.

He cited the feeling of being stuck during quarantine as the inspiration for the work.

“The Patient Lady” by Garrett Klein was awarded the Congressional Award in the 2021 All-State Art Competition sponsored by the Alaska School Activities Association. The painting will hang alongside other Congressional Award-winning artwork in the busy corridor that connects the Cannon House office building to the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy image/Thunder Mountain High School)

“The Patient Lady” by Garrett Klein was awarded the Congressional Award in the 2021 All-State Art Competition sponsored by the Alaska School Activities Association. The painting will hang alongside other Congressional Award-winning artwork in the busy corridor that connects the Cannon House office building to the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. (Courtesy image/Thunder Mountain High School)

“Life for the better part of a year felt like I was stuck in a box with no sides. If I wanted to leave, I could– but I knew of the over looming threat. As I was creating this piece, I tried to reflect my feeling of being lost, yet found; distant, but present; eccentric, however patient. That is the story of “The Patient Lady,” he said in the artist statement that accompanied the piece.

Klein said he thinks the eyes of the model are the key to the painting’s success.

“That feeling of being stuck, that emotion and expression are there. You see that emotion in her face,” he said. “The eyes are the most important piece in any work.”

It’s all downhill: Looking at hydropower in Southeast Alaska

Future plans

This summer, Klein plans to visit Washington to see his painting hang among other award-winning artwork from the country’s high school students. Beyond that, he’s hoping to make art a career and is considering college options, including art school.

He’s also winning fans along the way.

“It’s a beautiful piece of art,” said Zack Brown, communications director for U.S. Rep. Don Young, who confirmed via email that the painting arrived in Washington last week.

His teacher is confident in his ability and encouraged by his trajectory.

“Growth! That is the best word I can use to describe Garrett. Every time he walks into the art room, he has grown an inch in height. But more importantly, has been his growth in painting. Garrett has worked hard with portrait painting and proportions of the human figure to get to the level he is at now. The art room is flooded with Garrett’s studies on canvas, walls, and sketch pads from over the years. These studies show a timeline of incredible growth in just three years,” Imboden said via email. “One more high school year to go, and one more year to watch such exponential visual growth out of a persistent portrait painter.”

Garrett Klein, a rising senior at TMHS, works on a painting earlier this month. One of Klein’s pieces was awarded the Congressional Award in the 2021 All-State Art Competition and will hang in Washington, D.C. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Garrett Klein, a rising senior at TMHS, works on a painting earlier this month. One of Klein’s pieces was awarded the Congressional Award in the 2021 All-State Art Competition and will hang in Washington, D.C. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Klein thanked Imboden, fellow art teacher Nancy Lehnhart and local artist MK MacNaughton for making his success possible.

“What goes on in the art room at TMHS is incredible,” he said.

Contact reporter Dana Zigmund at dana.zigmund@juneauempire.com or 907-308-4891.

More in News

(Juneau Empire file photo)
Aurora forecast for the week of Feb. 19

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

Rep. Tom McKay, R-Anchorage, speaks in favor of House Bill 143 on Friday. (Photo by James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Alaska House approves relaxed environmental rules for ‘advanced recycling’

Applies to facilities using high heat or chemicals to turn plastic garbage into raw materials.

Juneau Mayor Beth Weldon (right) discusses the Juneau School District’s financial crisis with school board Vice President Emil Mackey (right) and City Attorney Robert Palmer during a meeting Thursday night at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Meetings to comment on Assembly’s proposed $9.6M of help to school district scheduled next two Mondays

Plan includes $4.1 million no-interest loan, picking up “shared costs” this year and next.

A crowd overflows the library at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Thursday night as school board members meet to select a consolidation option to help resolve the Juneau School District’s budget crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
School district leaders approve putting grades 9-12 at JDHS, 7-8 and HomeBRIDGE at TMHS

Elementary schools will be K-6; Marie Drake, Floyd Dryden to close this fall if plan gets final OK.

Members of the Alaska House of Representatives celebrate the passage of a sweeping education bill on Thursday. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
House passes $680 BSA increase, with other education provisions

Bill now returns to Senate, which must pass it unchanged before it can head to the governor’s desk.

House Minority Leader Calvin Schrage, I-Anchorage, speaks during Thursday night’s floor debate on an education bill. (Screenshot from akl.tv livestream)
House approves $680 BSA increase, extra support for charter schools in education bill

Bill passes by 38-2 vote, Senate expected to concur with changes after days of negotiations.

Musicians perform Sunday, Feb. 18, 2024, at Devil’s Club Brewing. The event was among the first three allowed under a newly amended state law. (James Brooks/Alaska Beacon)
Three Alaska alcohol manufacturers sue state over rule limiting live music and entertainment

Plaintiffs say limit of four events annually at breweries and distilleries violates First Amendment.

A previously unidentified Eastern North Pacific right whale surfaces in the waters of the Gulf of Alaska in September 2023. The discovery of this whale was hailed by scientists studying the critically endangered population. Members of the public are being asked to choose a name for the animal through an online contest that will use bracketed competition. (Photo by Bernardo Alps/NOAA Fisheries, International Whaling Commission and WildSea Inc.)
Agency asks public to name, get to know member of highly endangered Alaska whale population

NOAA wants people online to name Eastern North Pacific right whale spotted in September.

The front page of the Juneau Empire on Feb. 21, 1994. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week of Feb. 25

Three decades of capital city coverage.

Most Read