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Keller students show off their creative side with Gold Seals at state art competition

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A VASE and beautiful things often go together.

Seven students in the Keller school district recently showcased their talents by earning the Gold Seal at the annual State Visual Arts Scholastic Event.

Gold Seal recipients will receive a gold state medallion, the equivalent of a state championship. Their artwork will be exhibited in venues across the state, culminating with the Gold Seal Exhibition at the annual Texas Art Education Association’s fall conference.

“During a difficult year our art teachers exercised incredible ingenuity and creativity,” Keller ISD Fine Arts Director Kim Blann said. “We organized individual art supply kits for our remote students, allowing student artists to pick up supplies, or elect to have them delivered to their homes in some cases. Our teachers went above and beyond to keep art supplies in the hands of our KISD remote students, while also continuing to do the same for those students attending classes in-person.

“Although our students did not have the opportunity to attend the State VASE contest this year in-person, the virtual competition kept our students engaged and creating art. We are incredibly proud of our student artists, and believe strongly our world needs more people creating beautiful art.”

Keller ISD had 47 state qualifiers and the most Gold Seal recipients in the district’s history. The Keller district has been a part of this competition for many years, noted Keller High School art instructor Craig Gould.

“We support this activity for our artists, as it not only allows them to work in great detail on a piece of art, and receive feedback from a juror, but it gives them the opportunity to talk about their artwork, articulating their choices, and verbalizing the meaning behind their piece,” Gould said.

“In 2015, when I was in my first year as an instructor at Keller High School, we had three students qualify for the state competition. 2021 marked the third consecutive year of our campus having more than 22 pieces qualify for the event. The five Gold Seals awarded to Keller High students is the most during my tenure.”

Here are the seven students who received Gold Seals, including the title of their piece and their respective schools and instructors:

Ella Chen, Keller High, “Stuck in Time.” Cary McNutt instructor.

Reagan D. Sandlin, Keller High, “Exhibit A.” Chris Stickel instructor.

Grace Keltner, Keller High, “Reputation.” Craig Gould instructor.

Luke Kostohryz, Keller High, “God’s Messenger Was a Bird.” Gould.

Allison R. Rudinski, Keller High, “Tess.” Kerri Mullin instructor.

Jamie Pag-Ong, Timber Creek High, “Jamie Playing the Guitar.” Camille Gibbons-Kerr instructor.

Skylar Wright, Timber Creek High, “Fish Bowl Tears.” Mikaela Jaros instructor.

“I had actually sent the reference photo that I used for my piece ‘Reputation’ to VASE last year in the photography category, where it received a 4 (rating) as well, but did not go to State. This made my 2021 VASE victory at state all the more rewarding,” said Keltner, a junior.

“The competition was so much fun, because I got to meet so many talented artists. It’s an honor to be able to participate and see these artists in their element,” Pag-Ong, a freshman, added.

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