Ready, Set, Create: Students prepare for VASE competition


Visual Arts Scholastic Event, otherwise known as VASE, is a competition in which students enter art pieces to be judged on a scale of 1-4 (four being the highest). Art pieces in the competition range from traditional drawings, sculptures, or digital art. There are different competitions for elementary (TEAM), middle (Junior VASE), and high school (VASE) level. This year’s regional VASE competition will be held at San Marcos High School on January 25, 2017.

“VASE is a UIL competition for art students, we create art pieces, we show them off to judges, and [tell them] our meaning and our process behind it. We get a grade on it, and determining on our grade, we get to move onto state,” Jurnee Jackson (11) said .

Thirty-five students from Ann Richards are competing. This year, fifty-one art pieces are being entered. Participants are allowed two pieces at most, and Mr. Smith has allowed students to compete in VASE who are not currently in an art class.

“Everyone who is competing is chosen to compete and wants to be there, so it’s a good turnout,” Mr. Matt Smith said.

Brooke Brogan (12) paints the last touches on her sculpture in final preparation for VASE. Photo by Brenda Avila.

Mr. Smith hope this experience is a rewarding as well as a beneficial experience for the students.

“I hope they get a sense of pride and satisfaction that after working hard on a piece of artwork, that they’re proud to show it off to different people and learn from the experience,” said Mr. Smith. “[Not only] with what they make but also learning how to talk about their art or other people’s art in a very constructive way.”

Jackson, who has previously competed in two VASE competitions, will be competing for the third time this year.

“I’m really nervous because we have to sit in front of a door and wait for our time to go into the room where the judges are at. It’s really nerve wracking, like, what if they don’t like my piece? What if I don’t get a four?” Jackson said.

After the judging, the feeling is a much lighter tone.

“Once we get our scores and we’re walking through the gym, and you’re looking at other people’s pieces, I’m like ‘wow, they’re really amazing, really intimidating,’ and then I see my piece and then I get all happy,” said Jackson.

Jurnee Jackson (11) types up her reflection about her process behind her artwork in preparation for VASE. Photo by Brenda Avila.

For students who are competing for the first time like Yasmin Castelan (9), the experience is different.

“I thought it would be, like, this big room, and then it be, like, really dim, and then there be a light just shining on me, and there [would] be a panel of judges just staring at me and my artwork,” Castelan said.

In reality, the judging portion of the competition involves the participant going into a classroom, where a judge talks to them about their artwork and the process behind their piece for roughly 6-8 minutes.

“You can see your artwork in one way, but then when you get a professional to judge it for you, you get to view it in a different way and view their perspective,” Castelan said.

VASE is rewarding experience for both the students as well as for the teacher,

“Overall, even with the hard work that I put into it, it’s worth doing because students get a lot of benefit out of it,” said Mr. Smith.

Jessica Pinney (12) puts the finishing touches on her water color painting that she will be competing with in VASE. Photo by Brenda Avila.