Students showcase Western art

Elena Watts By Elena Watts

Jan. 11, 2014 at 10:01 p.m.
Updated Jan. 10, 2014 at 7:11 p.m.

Western artwork created by almost 500 Victoria Independent School District students filled the Victoria Fine Arts Center on Saturday for the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Art Show.

Judges, with the help of more than a dozen Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo officials, reviewed the works of art for hours before selecting nine winners.

The winning works from elementary, middle and high school divisions will hang in the Reliant Center in Houston during most of March.

"I kept getting compliments, so I kept drawing," said Reagan McElroy, a junior at Victoria East High School, who won a special merit award. "I have no idea what I'm doing until I start."

Reagan used a graphite pencil to compose "After the Run." The drawing features a girl holding the reins atop her horse.

Reagan first drew the girl and incorporated other elements, such as the horse's legs and face, from photos provided by her art teacher.

Candace Coyle, who is an art teacher at Victoria East High School, an art facilitator for VISD and the coordinator of the art show, provided her students with a bucket full of images they could use to create their Western-themed works of art.

Donivan Vecera, a seventh-grader at Howell Middle School, won the gold medal for his drawing of a scene reflected in a horse's eye.

From a photograph, Donivan drew the reflection of his nephew leaning against a fence.

"It feels good to win, but I've won a lot," Donivan said. "I wish others had the chance to win - I've already been to Houston twice."

Cindy Vecera said her son's artistic ability along with his love of animals has steered him toward either design or veterinary science for his life's work.

"Donivan is humble, and this gives him self-confidence," Vecera said. "He's introverted, so this is a way for him to express himself."

Jackson Pogue, a kindergartner at Torres Elementary School, won the gold medal for "Bandits," a drawing of bandits singing on stage with a guitar.

"I drew the guitar first, and then, my teacher told me to fill the rest of the page," Jackson said. "One person is having a good time, and one person has a microphone."

Jackson shook with waves of excitement and head-nodding when he learned he won.

"He draws all the time," said his mother, Katrina Pogue. "There are thousands of drawings taped on our living room wall."

Kecia Garcia, the art teacher at Torres Elementary School, said she was happy to learn that Jackson and another of her students had won.

"It's not you, and they are not your children, but you still get so excited," Garcia said.

The winners and their parents will attend the awards ceremony in Houston in March.

They also receive tickets to either the livestock show and rodeo or the carnival.

The top 50 selected from schools across the state go to auction, said Diane Boyett, spokeswoman for VISD. Members of the Houston business community bid on the works of art and often hang them in their offices.

In the state-level contest, the grand champion wins $20,000, Coyle said. The reserve grand champion wins $10,000, and the class champions win $4,000 each. Reserve class champions each win $3,000, and the the remaining works of art are guaranteed $1,000.

These cash prizes are minimums with the potential for more. When bids exceed the caps for the works, the money is transferred to an educational fund that grants scholarships to students.



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