Hebron High School will host an upcoming art competition that draws more than 2,000 participants.

The Visual Arts Scholastic Event (VASE) was established in 1992 by the Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) to give visual arts students an opportunity to compete against their peers in the University Interscholastic League (UIL).

“The student's work is judged by a qualified juror,” said Jennifer Russell, art teacher at Hebron High School (HHS). “The students are asked questions about their piece, what their inspiration was and what techniques they used.”

The first high school VASE competition was held in 1994 with just over 400 participants. That number has grown to more than 2,000 participants.

“It’s a little nerve-racking, but it’s exciting having that many people here,” Russell said. “We just want to provide the best event that we can.”

HHS will have 54 students participating, with 60 pieces total entered into the competition.

“I’ve thought about VASE for a long time, coming up with ideas and preparing my piece,” said Taylor Himes, junior at HHS and first-time VASE competitor. “It’s nice to have some time to really think about what we want to convey through our art.”

Some students used their class assignment as their competition piece where they were told to come up with a word or a concept that they wanted to express through their art.

“My piece is called Human Error,” Taylor said. “It’s a darker take on the hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil idea.”

Taylor’s inspiration came from street art style.

“I love how they always have a message that they are trying to send,” Taylor said. “I really tried to focus on that style.”

Rachel Dyson, senior at HHS, focused on one word for her inspiration – discover.

“I really liked the inspector or investigator idea,” Dyson said, “I knew I wanted to incorporate a lot of colors as well.”

With art being a passion of hers, Dyson plans to go to Savannah College of Art and Design after graduation to major in sequential art. Her dream is to do storyboarding and concept art for motion pictures and animated films.

While nerves and a little bit of stress are common when competing in VASE, Breanna Bleil, junior at HHS, is used to the pressure.

“This will be my third year competing in VASE,” Bleil said. “I didn’t really know what to expect during my first competition but quickly found out that it’s simply one big conversation about your piece.”

Bleil got an early start on her art piece, which is created purely out of fruit labels.

“I actually started mine during the summer just for fun,” Bleil said. “I just began putting things that I already had together and it started to come into formation.”

Russell is confident that her students will perform well at this year’s competition.

“These kids are really confident and excited as they prepare for VASE,” Russell said. “We have a lot of pieces being entered that I think are really out of the box and are concepts the judges may have not seen before, so I’m excited to see how they do.”

HHS will host the 22nd annual VASE competition from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 20. 

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