Artists place at VASE

Plano students arrived at Jasper High School at 7:15 a.m. sharp on Feb. 22 to compete in a state-wide competition known as VASE, or the Visual Arts Scholastic Event. Students competed in the hopes of getting their pieces to state and earning the highly desired Gold Seal prize, which is the top honor of the contest. After getting their pieces qualified to contend and receiving their interview times, the competitors would then wait in the school cafeteria until the time for their consultations arrived.

“We each had to go either upstairs or stay downstairs and wait outside a classroom for our interview, which is how they figure out what to score you,” junior AP 3D art student Yovana Marinkovic said. “I got pretty nervous since it’s just you and a judge sitting there discussing your piece and analyzing everything about it.”

Judges ask questions ranging from the construction process behind the artwork to its significance, and each answer has direct impact on the scoring of the piece.

“Of course the piece itself carries the majority of the score, but to have, like, well thought out responses to the judges’ questions counts as well,” junior  AP 2D student Odelia Cheng said. “You want them to see how dedicated you are to both the making of the piece and the inspiration. All of these little things contribute to whether or not you score a four, which is the highest score you can receive, and it qualifies you for state.”

Once a piece is scored a four, it is taken to the gym where both students and teachers can browse the works. From there, the judges determine which of the high scoring pieces move on to state and which ones get the boot.

“It’s all very subjective,” junior AP 3D art student Shwethaa Swaminathan said. “I feel like it’s a lot easier for the judges to connect to 2D pieces, just because they have an easier time capturing realism. Sculptures, on the other hand, are just a lot more conceptual.”

Although no 3D pieces from Plano made it onto state, despite each earning a score of four, five 2D works were selected to go on to the next round in April, created by seniors Mary Casillas, Savana King, Reema Sharma and Amy Lin, who had two pieces chosen to advance.