Art students place in Houston Livestock competition

Pictured from left to right are Colby Ortega (Gold Medal winner), Alex Fenton (Best of Show winner), and Hannah Tait (Gold Medal winner).

Camille Kelly, Writer

Students in the Advanced Art class competed in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo art competition at the NRG Center in early January. Several students placed and are advancing from the district level of competition.  

“This competition is a good motivator for the kids because it challenges them and gets them out of their comfort zone,” art teacher Betsy Bland said. “They have produced beautiful artwork that is very impressive at the high school level.” 

Seniors Colby Ortega and Hannah Tait won gold medals for their pieces “Kickapoo Chief” and “Austin.” Junior Alex Fenton won Best of Show for her artwork “Little Man’s Pride.”

“I tell the students to do the piece to the best of their ability and love their art, even when the judges don’t,” Bland said. “I want them to feel proud of themselves and love their art when they get it back, whether they placed or not.”

It definitely pushes my students to reach heights they didn’t even know they were capable of.


The artists participate in several different contests throughout the year. Bland said that the experience really builds character.  

“It’s so nice to see students that come in here and work hard and take criticism well,” Bland said. “I’m proud of their hard work they put in this year and of how they really put themselves out there.” 

The competition is also an opportunity to apply for scholarships, such as the Summer Glassel and Western Art Academy scholarships. Students can gain college level credits through the contest.  

“Art is different from anything else, and it really is a lifelong learning,” Bland said. “You don’t realize how much it influences you every day in your day-to-day life.” 

There are many UIL rules and regulations that competitors must take into consideration when beginning their artwork in the fall. The students began working on their pieces during the first semester so that they would be prepared for judging in January.  

“Rodeo is a very difficult competition with all its rules and regulations,” Bland said. “It definitely pushes my students to reach heights they didn’t even know they were capable of.”