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Three students from Melissa High School received top scores at the 2019 State Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) this spring. This was the school’s second showing at the state art competition.
Only 10 percent of the pieces that receive a top score – a four – at regionals advance to state. Among this year’s state qualifiers were Haley Bass, Shelby Kennedy, and Kadyn King. All three students received a four at state. Haley Bass also received a Gold Seal.
Haley Bass, junior, entered two pieces into the competition this year. Her first piece earned the highest award of a Gold Seal and is now being exhibited by the Texas Art Education Association in various cities across the State of Texas. The piece features a woman Bass met while on a mission trip in Mexico, drawn with graphite pencil and suspended from a wooden frame using colored embroidery thread and twine.
“Her shawl and her clothes were so bright and colorful, being in a Mexican tribe,” Bass said. “I wanted to somehow incorporate that color because you lose that essence of a piece when you use graphite.”
Bass’ second piece (pictured in the opening photo) is a portrait of her late grandfather, created with graphite pencil and quilling; a method of rolling thin strips of paper and piecing them into an intricate design.
Shelby Kennedy, sophomore, created a self-portrait by gluing buttons of varying shapes, sizes, and colors on top of an acrylic base. Kennedy says she has been taking art classes at school since she was in sixth grade.
“Watercolor is my safe thing – I love doing watercolor – but I wanted to do something different,” Kennedy said.
Kadyn King, sophomore, created a 3-D model of her dog, made out of corks and positioned on a wooden base that she stained and assembled.
“This year I wanted to try to do a 3-D piece because I thought I had a better chance of going to state,” King said. “I wanted to do a unique medium that you don’t see very often, so I picked corks. It’s really like one big puzzle.”
On their way home from the state competition in Austin, the three students came up with the idea of adding a competitive art class at Melissa High School.
“The three of us were talking about ways that we can do better next year,” Bass said. “We talked about trying to get some sort of advanced art going. We typed up different ideas on the car ride home. When we got back, I sat down and formulated the proposal and then we met with [principal] Mr. Wooten.”
The class was approved and more than 20 students have enrolled for the upcoming school year. Led by art teacher Michelle Cruce-Malone, the competitive art class will focus solely on creating art for competition. The students also hope to organize and host an art competition on campus in the future.
Maddie Coe, Community Relations