Pic: Bridge City High School art students Kaitlyn Lawrence, Hannah Huff, Lacey Pender and Lauren Brinkley are each seen with their award winning artwork.

By Debby Schamber

For the Record

For some Bridge City high school students, art is not only fun but can be a competition. 

A few months ago, Debbie Gregg, BCHS art teacher, took her students on a field trip to a local working ranch. There students saddled and rode a horse. This was all to get the “feel” of the experience. Before leaving, each student took photos of things at the ranch. 

The purpose of the ranch experience was to gather information for an art project which later could be submitted to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo to be displayed in the Hayloft Gallery. If the student was unable to capture a photo of what they wanted to use in order to create their art project, then they could use one from Gregg’s files. 

This year there were 60 pieces of western themed art work from students for the “in house competition.” An art educator from the Stark Museum then judged the pieces and narrowed the number of entries to 15.

Each teacher from schools across the state then submits their students artwork for judging. These judges are Houston award winning artists. 

This year, the Best in Show winner was BCHS senior Lacey Pender. Her sculpted piece was  titled “One last ride” and shows a horse bucking a rider. 

“It is very detailed,” Gregg said of the exquisite sculpture. 

Pender made a wooden base and a wire armature for the sculpture of polymer clay. The nine inch by nine inch project took about six weeks to complete. 

“I have always found horses interesting,” Pender said. 

After graduation, Pender plans to pursue her interest in horses by becoming a farrier. Although, she will always have art in her life too. 

“I am always working on something,” she said. 

In addition, to her showing at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, Pender has also been chosen to have an acrylic painting of a beta fish shown at the Museum of Southeast Texas. The contest is open to area seniors from local high schools. There were six entries from BCHS, but Pender was the only one chosen to be shown. The painting will be shown at the museum 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 21. 

According to Gregg, it is an honor to be chosen for this show. 

For her 2-D piece, senior Hannah Huff won best in show. Her art is titled “Into the Wind.”

For Huff, this art piece allowed her to do something different than she had done previously. In addition, the subject of wind allowed her to use various brush strokes. 

For Huff, art relaxes her. 

“It makes everything fade away and makes the stress go away in my life,” Huff said. 

Following graduation, Huff plans to go into the medical field. 

Other winners were juniors Lauren Brinkley and Kaitlyn Lawrence who were gold medal winners. 

The best in show winners will receive a trophy while the gold medal winners will receive a medallion.   

“These pieces will be kept for the rodeo show,” Gregg said. 

The pieces can be seen in the Hayloft Gallery located on the fairgrounds. 

In February the students will find out if their art work is eligible to participate in the auction. But, they won’t know of their fate until then. 

“It’s a really high honor,” Gregg said of being selected for auction.” If selected for auction you are one of the top 50 pieces.” 

The student gets a percentage of the money collected for their art piece, according to Gregg. 

For more than 50 years the School Art Program has challenged students. The program gives students Pre-K through 12th grade the opportunity to compete and display their artwork in the Hayloft Gallery during the rodeo. Currently the School Art Program has participants from 142 different school districts including private and parochial schools. Last year there were more than 200,000 entries which over the years has totaled up to more than 9.4 million entries since 1965, according to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. 

Attracting more than 2. 5 million visitors annually, the 2019 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo will kick off February 25th and continue through March 17th at NRG Stadium. Visitors can enjoy countless activities and happenings at NRG Park during the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo with a single-day pass or season grounds pass. More information on costs and how to obtain tickets is available at http://www.rodeohouston.com.