Reaching the Pinnacle: The “Gold Seal” is the top state award presented to Distinguished works of art.

Adia Martínez receives the Gold Seal medallion at the 2017 State VASE.

[dropcap color=”#888″ type=”square”]H[/dropcap]igh school students earned top honors at the Texas State Visual Arts Scholastic Event. The competition took place in San Antonio April 28-29.

The state event represents the pinnacle of artistic success in the program known as VASE. To advance to state, the students’ work had to undergo judging and earn a rating of 4  at [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Regional VASE. This is a Superior rating. Advancing to the state event is a difficult achievement. Each student that receives a Superior rating receives the VASE State Medallion.


“Pay Attention” by Adia Martínez

Aldine ISD had 13 State medal winners out of their 20 art pieces that were competing which is outstanding.

The [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Texas Art Education Association has sponsored the [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]Visual Art Scholastic Event since 1994. VASE is one of the largest curricular competitions in the nation. Only academically eligible senior high school students can compete. A panel judges the students’ works in the following key areas:

[ul class=”list list-search”] [li]Technical expertise[/li] [li]Originality of concept [/li][/ul][ul class=”list list-search”] [li]Understanding of the essential elements[/li] [li]Interpretation of the student’s stated intent [/li][/ul]


“Rapture” by Herson Martínez

Professional TAEA members judge each student’s artwork at all levels of competition. They use a rating standard to award based on the quality of the work.

As students advance from the region to state event, judging becomes much more rigorous.

State VASE Rating System

[ul class=”list list-search”] [li]Distinguished Rating 5 Distinguished (given only to Gold Seal artwork)[/li]


“Creativity Illuminated” by Adrían Alfaro

[li]Rating 4 Exemplary [/li][/ul][ul class=”list list-search”] [li]Rating 3 Superior[/li] [li]Rating 2 Excellent[/li][/ul][ul class=”list list-search”] [li]Rating 1 Accomplished[/li][/ul]

To emphasize the students’ achievement, more than 32,000 pieces of artwork competed at regionals. Of these, a set percentage of artworks with Superior ratings advance to the state event to receive Distinguished rating and the coveted Gold Seal medallion.

The judges only selected 150 entries for the Gold Seal Show. Only the top .5% in the state obtain the Gold Seal medallion.

AISD had one visual art student reach the Gold Seal medallion: Adia Martínez from Nimitz High School. Adia’s work formed part of the Gold Seal Show. Leslie Rowney is her art teacher.

One AISD student earned a Gold Seal, while 12 others received Exemplary 4 ratings.


“Doppleganger” by Megan Valles

The state event provides a forum for art teachers and students to meet and grow artistically. Each year at the event, students also take part in workshops, lectures, and demonstrations.

After the jury process, all the entries are on exhibit. Students can view their peers’ works and see the vast talents and fresh ideas of others.

Dr. Michaelann Kelley is proud of the students and their teachers. Kelley serves as program director of fine arts for Aldine ISD.

Making it to the State VASE is a huge accomplishment,” Kelley. “Aldine ISD had 20 art pieces with 13 medaling. And I am so excited that we again had a student receive Gold Seal at State VASE.

We have talented students and we have dedicated art teachers. I am always impressed by the artwork coming out of our schools.”


“Dream Wolf” by Arianna Barcenas

Gold Seal Recipient

Rating: 5
Student: Adia Martínez
Artwork: Pay Attention
Campus: Nimitz HS
Teacher: Leslie Rowney

Students With a Top Score of 4

Carver HS

Student: Herson Martínez
Artwork: Rapture
Teacher: Matthew Kirkpatrick

Eisenhower HS

“Remember the Alamo” by Fernando Carreón

Student: Adrián Alfaro
Artwork: Creativity Illuminated
Teacher: Mark Francis

Student: Magan Valles
Artwork: Doppelganger
Teacher: Jaclyn McClure

MacArthur Ninth Grade School

Student: Arianna Barcenas
Artwork: Dream Wolf
Teacher: Claire Webb


“Colorless Desires” by Marjorie DeLeón

Student: Fernando Carreón
Artwork: Remember the Alamo
Teacher: Claire Webb

Student: Marjorie de León
Artwork: Colorless Desires
Teacher: Claire Webb

MacArthur HS

Student: Nia Kyles
Artwork: Jada
Teacher: Vino Underwood

Student: Kevin Macías
Artwork: Self-Potrait
Teacher: Amber Quiroz

Nimitz HS

“To Build a Home” by Mayerlin Lozano

Student: Mayerlin Lozano
Artwork: To Build a Home
Teacher: Leslie Rowney

Student: Juana Medrano
Artwork: Oblivion
Teacher: Leslie Rowney

Student: Lisbeth Najera
Artwork: Thorn-less Aesthetic
Teacher: Leslie Rowney

Student: [icons icon_name=”icon-external-link” icon_size=”14px”]María Zavala (2016 Gold Seal Recipient)
Artwork: Citizenship
Teacher: Leslie Rowney


“Oblivion” by Juana Medrano


By Lisbeth Najera


By Lisbeth Najera


“Citizenship” by María Zavala