Friday, March 14, 2014

We Have a Rodeo Art Grand Champion!

For the first time in district history, a Spring Branch ISD high school art student has been named as the one and only Grand Champion in the School Art Auction sponsored by the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Based on recent history, the acrylic work titled “Reminiscence of Youth” painted by Memorial High School senior Seo Woo “Michelle” Jong could fetch $200,000 or more in Sunday’s live School Art Auction at the Rodeo.

It’s not her first Rodeo Art Auction experience, but it’s still incredibly surprising. “I was hoping to get into the auction,” Seo Woo said. “I was not expecting to be named the Grand Champion. It did not hit me at first what had happened when I was named the champion.”

Two years ago, a colored drawing by Seo Woo was auctioned for $37,000 at the Rodeo School Art Auction. She was also named the third-place student winner in the Portrait Class category of the Rodeo-sponsored 2014 Quick Draw Contest.

She was named Grand Champion on March 8. On that same day, it was announced that the works of eight other art students from Memorial and Stratford high schools would be auctioned to the highest bidder in other categories, too.

“The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo scholarships have meant so much to Memorial High School students over the years,” said art teacher Cathleen May, who helped many Memorial students meet the Rodeo’s requirements for school submissions.

“Seo Woo Jong’s selection as Grand Champion is a wonderful accomplishment, and a tribute to the hard work and effort of all the Memorial students who entered the Rodeo Art competition,” she also said. In all, only 62 student works out of more than 300,000 submissions were accepted into the annual Rodeo auction. SBISD high schools account for almost 15 percent of all students named to the auction this year.

In the Rodeo’s School Art Auction, students keep a portion of the final sale price; the remainder in high bid auctions supports student scholarships elsewhere. South Korea born, Seo Woo first attended fifth grade at Frostwood Elementary. She graduated from Memorial Middle School, and she will soon do the same at Memorial High.

She also attended Houston Christian High School for 1½ years during her sophomore and junior years. Her winning acrylic painting is based on a photograph of a ranch life re-enactment that she took during a Pioneer Day visit to George Ranch Historical Park, located in Richmond. She hopes to attend the highly rated Rhode Island School of Design next fall, but she’s undecided about her major or adult career and work path.

“I want to do something meaningful. Art is not generally something that serves people who are in need. I want to do something that will help other people, and helps them in a meaningful way,” Seo Woo said.


Memorial High students picked for the Rodeo’s School Art auction include:
• Seo Woo “Michelle” Jong, senior, “Reminiscence of Youth,’ acrylic painting
• Anna Cho, junior, “Spinning Time,” acrylic painting
• Jennifer Kim, junior, “Companion,” colored pencil
• Erica Kim, sophomore, “Mother and Child,” colored pencil
• Ashley Park, freshman, “Workmanship,” colored pencil
• Julia Delaney, freshman, “Talking Leather,” colored pencil

Sponsoring instructors are Memorial High’s Cathleen May and Marilyn Guerinot.

Stratford High students picked for the Rodeo’s School Art auction include:
• Ha Bee Lee, senior, “Guardian of One Zone,” acrylic painting
• Amy Cho, senior, “Wash Away,” colored pencil drawing
• Ju Won Yoo, freshman, “All in a Day’s Work,” colored pencil

Sponsoring instructors are Stratford High’s Jana Stiffel and Melanie Hyche.


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