Twenty-four high school art students have been studying and living at Schreiner University since June 16 to learn all aspects of creating and selling art, both painting and sculpture.
This long-standing Western Art Academy at SU is also a credited college course for each of the participating students.
They “graduate” on Saturday, July 13, with an exhibition of their completed works of art, two paintings and two sculptures each, which will be offered at a silent auction.
Students were chosen to apply for this annual program through their participation and participation in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Scholarship Art Competition.
As artwork is sold there, the scholarship fund receives most of the profits while some goes to young artists.
Working artist Kevin Chupik served as the lead instructor for the painting, with artist William Kalwick as the teaching partner.
In the sculpting workshops, the instructors were the sculptors Margaret Drake and Burneta Venosdel.
The instructors emphasized that this was not an “art camp”. It is an art academy with professional artist instructors and an on-campus college experience for students.
Liliana Lovisa is Director of the Western Art Academy Scholarship Program for Schreiner University
This year is the 35th year for the Houston LS and Rodeo, Kalwick said.
He is a full time painter in Houston and has real business experience in the art world in addition to teaching.
Chupik is from Fort Worth where he was an art teacher for 20 years, including at Texas Christian University, and exhibited his own paintings for 30 years.
Participating students were divided into two groups after arriving at SU, with one group beginning their academy days in the paint studio at Kathleen Cailloux Hall, and the other beginning in the sculpture studio at the Moody Science Building.
They switched places halfway through.
To provide them with “models” for their paintings and sculptures, they visited a working farm, as a group, and costumed cowboys and other visitors once brought live longhorns and other cattle, horses and a mule on Schreiner’s campus.
The students photographed or sketched the people, animals and carts so they could refer to their photos – mostly on their iPads or smart phones – while they worked in the art studios.
Last week, painting student Hector Maldonado, a 2019 Houston-area high school graduate, said he entered the Houston LS&R art competition with a colored pencil drawing.
His was included in the auction there and drew a winning bid of $240,000. He receives 15% of this money.
As a result, he was chosen to interview for the SU Western Art Academy.
(Some of his fellow painting students called him “Monsieur le Grand Champion”.)
Maldonado said he applied to attend San Jacinto Community College in Pasadena.
Julia Espino, a painting student, said she will be a senior at a Cypress ISD high school in 2019-20 and was a finalist in the Houston Art Competition after participating in a watercolor.
Her painting was not auctioned in Houston, but she applied to attend this Western Art Academy.
The lady in her painting last week was a ‘role model’ on a farm that academy students visited as part of their business.
Espino said in sculpting class that she chose to create the bust of a Jersey cow, mainly “because she had pretty eyelashes.”
Her college major is uncertain at this point, she said.
Abigail Manchaca attended the Art Academy after graduating from Friendswood High School last spring, where she studied art for four years.
She called the academy a “great experience”.
The first thing the new sculptors were asked to do was to make a two-dimensional “bas-relief” by pressing a design of their choice from a four-inch square of clay as a base; and finish it in two days.
The second thing they had to learn in the sculpture workshop was to build the metal armature required to be the base of the sculpture, no larger than 16 x 16 inches.
Instructors said it was necessary for them to learn the mechanics and engineering of carving and to be smart in math. They said it teaches them to create a roadmap and solve problems.
This step proved difficult for most of them, including the instructors, as the metal pieces had to be bent into the design shape intended by each student, then stacked on poles in a certain order and fastened securely with nuts and bolts using a wrench.
Only then could they begin to add soft clay to this armature to create their sculpture.
Instructors said students use an oil-based clay that stays malleable longer, especially when hot, and they recommended students ask their parents to bring coolers when they return to pick up their children and unsold sculptures.
Andres Lagarda, who will be in high school in the fall, said he was taking art classes in school, and for the Houston art contest he submitted a bull drawn with colored pencils. It was her second entry into the Houston show.
His drawing this year was not in the Houston auction, but he was chosen to apply for the SU academy. He chose to create a steer in the sculpture studio.
Sugar Land’s Noopur Dayal will be a junior in high school in the fall.
She said the academy classes are her first attempt at sculpting. Her first subject was a rooster but she chose to paint it instead.
As she worked to put her armature pieces together, she said she didn’t realize there was so much to do before making a sculpture.
Students chosen to attend this Art Academy were housed in on-campus apartments (vacated for the summer by regular SU students).
They made their own food choices because the apartments gave them access to kitchens.
They said that for fun, they were allowed to use the campus swimming pool and played indoor football and basketball at a campus gymnasium.