Students compete in Visual Arts Scholastic Event

Jack Wallace and Raine Lipscher

On Feb. 27, art students from the Region 13A North joined together at Cedar Ridge High School to compete with their art pieces in the Visual Arts Scholastic Event at the regional level. Westlake students participated and entered 142 pieces to be critiqued and judged, and 23 pieces advanced to State.

“I’d say overall our numbers were pretty good considering that there were 1400 pieces [submitted],” Art I and ceramics teacher Rebecca Thomas said. “One hundred twenty-six of ours got fours, [the top score]. Close to 90 percent of what we took got fours. I’m really pleased with the scores and personally having 10 of my students go to State was better than expected.”

One of the these students who made it to State was senior Zoë Jentzen for her drawing “Hoo Am I.”

“I submitted a self portrait and ‘Hoo Am I,’ a piece I did last year on alcoholism,” Zoë said. “My outward experience [with alcoholism] inspired me. [My artwork] was all in black and white. Usually, I do a lot of color in my pieces, but I thought this one was supposed to be in black and white because [it portrays] that feeling you get when you’re sad.”

Although many Westlake students breezed through the critiquing process, which includes an interview with a panel of judges, making it to State is not easy.

“The process through which pieces move on from getting a four to going to state is highly subjective,” Thomas said. “The judges simply put [all the pieces] in a room and go through them, and if it speaks to them on some level where they think it merits further competition, they put a little sticker on it. It’s literally the pieces with the most stickers that advance to State. So why do they put the sticker on? It could be technical skill that they see; it could be some conceptual connection that they make with the piece or an emotional connection. It could just be something that is interesting for them to keep looking at it for long enough.”

This year has proved to be one of the art department’s most impressive showings at VASE.
“The first time I went to State, maybe around six of us [moved on to State],” Zoë said.  “We took a tiny little van to [the competition]. Each year, more people get accepted.”