Hebron art tops district in number of state qualifiers

Art produces the most qualified state pieces in school history


Graphite (pencil) by Gina Su

Hebron has 19 art pieces that have qualified for state, the highest among the other schools in the district in VASE (The Visual Arts Scholastic Event), taking place in San Antonio April 22-23.

VASE is a state contest that pits some of the best artists in the United States against each other in a UIL-style competitive event.

“As an educator it is something you’d dream of,” art teacher Ross Hines said. “We are in a very tough region and we still managed between both campuses and it is the highest we’ve had since I’ve been doing it.”

Of the 19 pieces, nine of them were submitted under Hines. Seven of the pieces came from his freshmen students and two from sophomore Madi Park.

“I feel excited that I’m going to state,” freshman Brittney Fang said. “It’s mostly because at middle school I did Junior VASE which is kind of like this but a lot less formal, so I’m hoping that this might be a lot more than that.”

To submit artwork for VASE, students were required to pay a fee of $15 per piece, which was paid through school funds set aside by former principal Mark Dalton and current principal Amanda Werneke. Students are not allowed to submit more than two pieces for the competition.

“It hasn’t hit me yet that I made it,” freshman AnnMarie King said. “Sometimes I don’t think I deserved it; however, it has definitely boosted my confidence that I am actually good and can accomplish great things.”

In VASE, each piece is graded on a scale of one to four. If a piece receives a four, the highest score, then it will be allowed to advance to the next level. Of the pieces that are submitted for the area meet, the top 10 percent are allowed to move onto state.

“Art is very subjective and so is the judging of art,” Hines said. “There are sometimes where you can’t pin down why something didn’t go. When you see all of the pieces on the floor, you can walk by and go ‘Wow this person did a really good job’ but they can’t go because this, this, and this is better and it’s just how it is.”

In the competition, students participate in one of four divisions depending on how many art credits they have: from Division I (with one art credit) to Division IV (with multiple art credits).

“I drew a pink rose with colored pencils,” King said. “My next door neighbor planted a rose bush and it caught my attention once the flowers bloomed. I liked how the bright pink looked with the dull brown brick behind it. I drew this rose because I wanted to bring bright happy colors back into art. Many people draw dark and depressing pictures which is totally fine but that was not the look I was looking for. I wanted people to look at the rose and get emotions of happiness.”

At the state level, students are given many opportunities to be recognized at that level such as the Gold Seal which is given to the top 10 percent of the pieces submitted for state.

“Mr. Hines has helped a lot during VASE especially when it comes to double checking to see if the drawing or if the colors I’ve mixed together are correct,” Fang said. “He also prepared me to talk to the judges and for what state will be like compared to what I’m used to.”

Of the nine pieces that Hines took to state, three of them were wood burnings, three were oil paintings, three were color pencil drawings and one was a pencil drawing.

“It’s a big accomplishment just going to state,” Hines said. “I tell my freshman ‘that I know that you all want gold seals and that’s good, you need something to go for’ but sometimes that just even going against juniors and seniors who may be going to art school and have very refined skills is something that can be intimidating.”