Saginaw student draws her way to state


Megan Barrett, Staff Writer

The regional Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) competition was held Feb. 17 at Chisholm Trail High School. Students from Saginaw’s art department brought their artwork to be judged in a personal interview and to be scored on a scale of one to four. Judges then handpicked artwork from students who received a four to advance to the state competition in San Marcos. Sophomore Kayla Smith in Art 3 Pre-AP Drawing, will be attending the state competition from April 27 to 28.

Smith’s piece was created on a black canvas with white colored pencil, charcoal, and gel pens. Smith spent several weeks working on it in art class and at home. A drawing of a man in a suit with a vintage portrait camera as a head serves as the focal point of her piece. In the background, there’s multiple smaller drawings that resemble polaroids with different images on each one. Quotes fill the rest of the piece in small cursive handwriting.

“I feel really excited about it,”  Smith said. “I put a lot of work into the piece, and I’m super grateful I am able to go.”

Unlike the regional competition, at state, contestants are offered special opportunities to participate in while the jurors judge the pieces.  These activities include professional workshops, lectures, slide presentations, demonstrations, and outdoor sketching sessions. To end the day, an awards ceremony is held to reveal the scores and awards from the judges.

“I feel pretty confident, because I put a lot of my time and energy in it,” Smith said. “I like to think it came out great.”

VASE gives out scholarships at their state competition as prizes. Each scholarship is given to certain artworks that fit into categories such as ‘Outstanding Expressive Artwork’ and ‘Outstanding Still Life’. There are also other scholarships given called the ‘VASE 2D Scholarship’ and ‘VASE 3D Scholarship’ to perfect scored pieces. Each scholarship can range from $100 to $1000.

“I feel accomplished and proud,”  Smith said. “I hope to get another good score as well as maybe get some recognition for the piece.”

VASE gives out the Golden Seal Award. It’s only given to pieces that receive a special rating of five at the event, which makes up only seven percent of the total entries for the competition. Each Gold Seal winner’s piece will be displayed in several venues across the state of Texas, and all of the artworks end up at the annual Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) Fall Conference.

“I’ve been drawing since I was two,” Smith said. “It’s pretty much my life.”

Update 4/30/18:

Kayla Smith is the first ever student in the EMS school district to receive a Gold Seal award at state VASE. Her piece competed with 2,200 other artist’s works, and she was one out of 150 to get the Gold Seal.