The Magnolia Stroll may be a one-of-a-kind art gallery.
On March 24, weatherproof prints of the artwork of seven MISD students were placed on display on the Stroll, courtesy of donations from State Representative Cecil Bell. Bell stated he was proud of the kids and the community – and felt these students showed real talent.
"I hope you go on to find more successes. We want you to know we believe in you," said Bell, who was present at the unveiling on the Bell Walk of Fame.
These seven won awards for their Western art that was represented in the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Student Art competition: elementary students Abby Schnautz and Skylar Asaf, middle school student Sunny Brittain and high school students Katrina English, Olivia Rodriguez, Carly Sullins and Dylan Etter. In addition, Rodriguez' "Best of Show" art piece was selected by the Rodeo's Student Art Committee from literally hundreds of entries to one of about 50 auctioned at the annual School Art Auction.
Kyle Fontenot. Director of Fine Arts for Magnolia ISD, explained that Texas State Education District 6, which Montgomery County is a part of, has participated in the Rodeo's Student Art program for more than 30 years. School art teachers have encouraged students to enter each fall, and supervised the entries. Students spend from a few days to several weeks to complete their pieces. Lately, MISD elementary students had not been able to participate due to budget cuts that led to far fewer elementary art teachers.
The district introduced Art Camps for elementary students to "get them back in the game," according to Fontenot. Last fall, selected students from grades 3, 4 and 5 participated in two-day Art Camps outside of school time, and they produced all their Rodeo-themed art during those camps.
"We really want as much participation as possible, because this type of event is good for the kids - it helps them build aptitude for later and gets them to practice different skills," said Fontenot, who is hoping that the State Legislature sends more funds back to the schools this year.
The students honored on the Walk of Fame actually won awards twice. First, they were awarded the highest honors at the district judging in January, which was judged by members of the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo Student Art Committee.
Next, their art was exhibited downtown as part of an area-wide show by the Art Committee. The top winners of that event were selected to be part of the Rodeo's Student Art Auction. Olivia Rodriguez' monochromatic drawing of the horse "Bo" made it to the auction this year. Each student in the auction netted at least $1,000 for a college scholarship. The 2013 Grand Champion art piece, created by a Pasadena ISD student, sold for $210,000.
MISD student art has a long history with the Houston Rodeo. Each year several entries are selected for the area-wide show. In fact, last year's Grand Champion artwork, which sold for $206,000, was created by Magnolia West High School senior Barry Carter. As with other items auctioned at the Rodeo, the student only receives a percentage of the bid amounts for his or her personal scholarship fund, with the rest going into the general Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo scholarship fund.