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20 Pearland ISD students advance in rodeo art competition


Although she was the artist of a drawing named grand champion at last year’s Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo art competition, Dawson High School senior Gracin Nguyen admits that creating another piece this year proved challenging.

Because of her win, she had to choose a different division to compete in Pearland ISD’s Jan. 19 Western-themed art competition. She picked mixed media. Her piece this year, “Evening Glow,” took her roughly two months to complete.

“It was really out of my comfort zone because I’m used to just color pencil, but I had to learn airbrush and use chalk. It was really challenging, but I thought it was fun,” she said. 

The work won a Best of Show award at the district’s Western-themed art showcase, and Nguyen is one of 20 district student artists whose works advance to the next stage of competition. Also, Giana Silva of Sablatura Middle School was honored in the special needs category for a work titled “My Horse.”

The district show featured over 500 pieces created by students in grades kindergarten through 12, with works ranging from three-dimensional art to paintings. An HLS&R judging committee selected the art that will go to the next phase of competition at NRG Stadium in March. 

Best of Show:

  • Gracin Nguyen, Dawson High School, “Evening Glow”
  • Ella Lu, Dawson High School, “Galloping Bronco” (3D)
  • Sion Joo, Dawson High School, “Warrior’s Stride” (3D)
  • Reese Whitley, Alexander Middle School, “Ready for Lunch”
  • Rubi Thorn, Berry Miller Junior High, “The First Glimpse”

Gold Medal:

  • Brice Rudis, Dawson High School, “Securing the Cinch”
  • Katherine Xie, Dawson High School, “For the Buckle”
  • Sarah Zhang, Pearland Junior High West, “Passing the Torch”
  • William Kliesing, Rustic Oak Elementary School, “That Sheep”
  • Giana Silva, Sablatura Middle School (Special Needs Category), “My Horse”

Special Merit:

  • Faith Victoria Ni, Dawson High School, “Coat of Many Colors”
  • Jack Liu, Dawson High School, “Lone Star”
  • Jemi Dequina, Dawson High School, “When Life is Trough”
  • Lauren Oishi, Dawson High School – To Saddle the Wind
  • Natalie Burleson, Pearland High School – T-Minus 8 Seconds
  • Emily Kopetz, Dawson High School – The Stare
  • Shelby Clauson, Pearland High School – Maple
  • Sion Joo, Dawson High School – Good Morning Sunshine
  • Tanner Tran, Dawson High School – Broken In
  • Wendy Yin, Dawson High School – This Won’t Hurt
  • Ella Lu, Dawson High School – Rush Hour


In that round of judging, the Grand Prix, 72 art pieces will be chosen by judges to be auctioned for student awards and the rodeo’s educational fund. 

“This is the best results Pearland ISD has achieved so far,” said Cecilia Madero, the district’s communications director.

Pearland Insider: Stay updated on important stories and news to know around Pearland

Nguyen’s work at last year’s show, “In His Hands,” sold for $250,000 during the school art auction.

Students entered in the art auction win scholarships, as well as earn some of the money raised. Each sold painting is assured to provide $1,500 to the artist, with a cap of $2,500.



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