Two VASE Competitors Advance to State


"Unruly Mind" by Tate Brown

This piece is inspired by Brown’s grandmother with dementia.

Camille Rivera, Reporter

Senior Tate Brown and freshman Daphne Davenport have perfected their art pieces enough to advance to state in Texas Art Education Association’s Visual Art Scholastic Event (VASE). The stories their artwork holds bear a lot of weight and are important to them. 

Brown and Davenport were announced as state finalists Feb. 27. They will attend the state event this month with art teacher Judith Brown.

“I have to be very specific on how I help them,” Mrs. Brown said. “I can’t touch their piece. I can give them advice but it has to be totally 100% them. We started in November, and they had to finish it by the beginning of February, but it is a huge process. They had to have many documents online and their rough draft and process along with an interview. At the interview there were other art teachers and professional artists to evaluate work.”

This evaluation is crucial to the holistic view of the art pieces as well as the talent from the students that portray many unique stories.

“[My piece] was inspired by my grandmother,” Brown said. “She has dementia so it represents her and everyone who has dementia. I think that’s probably why I moved on because of the meaning of my piece. I mean it’s okay, painting, drawings, techniques wise, but when I was looking at the other pieces I definitely got scared or intimidated a lot because everyone else there is very talented. But I think the meaning of my piece is what really pushed it on compared to the others.”

Brown created an acrylic piece that shines light on the troubles surrounding dementia and its effects on the mind.

“So the title is ‘Unruly Mind’ and it’s about how our minds control us, but sometimes they can go against us many times as well,” Brown said. “My grandma doesn’t know what’s going on most of the time and she is just constantly lost. So, I just wanted to represent how cruel our brain is to our bodies and how we rely on it so much, and us relying on it can lead to not great outcomes.” 

Brown is thrilled to go to state for this event. She receives inspiration from other artists’ work and looks forward to seeing all of the other art pieces that her competitors made.

“A lot of the time I get lost in the painting but this one was different,” Brown said. “I was painting it and a lot of the time I would just stare at it and I would just look at it. Same when I was getting the interview for VASE, when my judge was finished and they put up the painting we both just stared at it for a long time.”

Davenport said it is a great honor to advance to the state level, especially as a freshman.

Davenport said her painting is about fear, and the lantern symbolizes hope, passion and a will to live. (“Lantern of Will” by Daphne Davenport)

“I have been working with art pretty much my entire life,” Davenport said. “From my earliest memories I’m like holding a pencil and I was like drawing the flowers in the backyard or pictures in books. Pretty much for fifteen years.”

Her painting speaks on fear and dives deep into how she felt at a bleak time in her life. 

“So, 2022 was a very hard year in a  lot of ways,” Davenport said. “I feel like it really does show in my painting. Basically about fear. The name of the piece is about the meaning. The lantern symbolizes hope and passion, and in a sense, a will to live, so I named it ‘Lantern of Will’.”

Mrs. Brown said there are many different regions with over 60 schools in each. Lampasas High School is in region 12. 

“Perspective-wise, Waco has four art teachers and they’re only taking five to state, but I have had years where we have taken nobody so we never know. All I can say is I am so excited and proud of these two.”