Students to compete in State VASE Competition


Mariah Jackson

During the VASE competition, junior Emily Peropat guides contestants to the proper room for judging.

Graciela Martinez, Webmaster

13 students will attend the 2017 State Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) competition in San Antonio, Texas at James Madison High School on April 28 and 29. The state qualifiers that will compete outscored competed against 1,678 other students at the regional competition and advance to state.

“The students had to go into a room with a judge and have a seven minute interview about their artwork,” art teacher Mike Hall said. “The judge asked five questions, and the student got to defend their work in front of a judge, [which] rarely happens. Usually [students] send their artwork off to the contest, but at VASE, [they] get to talk about their artwork in front of judge. Like how [students] do in speech and debate and solo and assemble, they have to perform.”

140 students who submitted the best pieces at state will be chosen as Distinguished Gold Seal winners at state, according to Hall. Gold seal winners are chosen from a group of competitors who receive an exemplary rating on their art piece.

“At the state event, the students have opportunities to do workshops for scholarships,” Hall said. “They get to meet 1,700 other students who are just as good at art as they are. It’s actually just a really cool opportunity. Also, if you win at state, you usually get a letter jacket for art.”

At VASE, there are a variety of art workshops that students can attend. There are also opportunities for the students to have their college portfolios reviewed.

“I’m really excited for the workshops,” state qualifier junior Tess Orr said. “Hopefully I get to learn lots of new things and be able to use them when I am making art. They also have chances to win scholarship money through them. I’m excited to try and do that.”

Orr entered two portrait style photographs into the regional VASE competition, and both qualified for state.

“I had a subject in the middle and then I had different people surrounding the subject and throwing different colors of paint on them,” Orr said. “One of them was black and white, and the other was in color. I think my photographs were different because there were lots of different compositional elements happening in it. With the movement, there was a ton of texture and values compared to the other photographs in the competition.”

State qualifier senior Fidencio Dapretta made it to state with a digital art piece he entered. His piece is a combination of two photographs comprised of four cowboys standing in a ghost town and a mountain range that he blended together.

“I’m excited for state VASE because it’s something new, and competitions this year haven’t been going really well for me,” Dapretta said. “I am hoping [my piece] will win something there.”

Hall hopes that the students will make the most of their experience by attending the workshops and meeting others who are interested in art as well.

“I would hope that they gain the experience of realizing that they are one of the 1700 students in the state of Texas in art,” Hall said. “There are probably 200,000 students that take art in the state of Texas every year. They’re the top one percent.”