Art students sweep away competition at VASE awards

Raine Lipscher

After brushing on the last streak of paint and molding its imaginative ideas into reality, the creative side of Westlake dominated at the Visual Art Scholastic Event. Thirty-seven out of 38 students received an honors score of four, and 19 hard-working artists were chosen to continue in the competition and will be heading off to State on April 25 in Dallas.

“It’s like our State playoffs,” art teacher Frances Grubbs said. “The football team wouldn’t go to a Regional playoff and not play their very best, so when we go to these competitions they need to bring their very best work.”

The students spend at least six weeks correcting every little detail and perfecting their pieces before bringing them to the awards, not to mention they had to go through an interview portion of the contest as well.

“It wasn’t actually that stressful,” senior Tom MacDonald said. “This year’s [interview] was good because I had a nice judge, but there is always a lot of stuff that you forget to say, so I really hope they read what I wrote on the back of my form.”

Tom is one of the gifted students who was chosen to go to State after submitting his 2-D red and black print that centered on the problems of air pollution in China.

“The prompt was to do some current issue, but that was mainly for inspiration,” Tom said. “I’m really just trying to make stuff that I personally like.”

In order to help prepare their students for the interview portion, Grubbs and art teachers Dale Baker, Roselle Casey and Rebecca Thomas talk to them about their pieces, including information about what inspired the piece, the creative process and what materials were used.

“The questions relate to the elements or principles of art, and they also relate to the art media and new techniques used,” Grubbs said.

The judges then give the contestants a combined score based on how they answered their interview questions and the quality of their artwork. Students who make it to State can be offered small scholarships, cash awards or workshop classes.

Senior Sofia Amaya received two gold medals for her 2-D poster of a distressed man losing his papers as he sprints away to escape the city and a digital candy shop scene with chocolate bunnies.

“[The feeling when I won] was pretty good,” Sofia said “This was my first year I entered any contests, so I didn’t expect an award right off the bat.”

Although she doesn’t define herself as an artist, Sofia believes that the artsy side of Westlake should receive more recognition.

“Everyone does really fantastic jobs, and I don’t think people realize that or know that,” she said. “We have the art gallery, but I have never seen more than one person there. People might think they can take an art class to fulfill an art requirement, but they don’t realize if they continue with it, they can do something really amazing.”

Seniors who qualify for state;
Alexa Cordos
Tom MacDonald
Ava Palmo
Haley Youman
Jessie Gondran
Rawan Fakhereddine
Paulina Trevino
Emma Martino

Juniors who qualify for state;
Sydney Cuiswell
Brittany Hampton
Claire O’Connor
Zoe Jentzen

Sophomores who qualify for state;
Camryn Martin
Miles Goll
Edward Brett
Caroline Dai

Freshman who qualify for state;
Bailey Beuerlein
Jennifer Lee
Ashlee Hampton