What is Culture Shapers?

Culture Shapers is an organization dedicated to encouraging excellence in the visual and performing arts through sponsorship of a city-wide art contest for high school students. If you attend High School in Harris, Waller, Liberty, Chambers, Galveston, Brazoria, Fort Bend or Montgomery counties - you are eligible to compete for more than $100,000 in cash prizes!

An open letter to student artists…

This heartfelt letter was sent in by one of our Sculpture Judges in 2005, as an encouragement to all the entrants in the 2005 Culture Shapers Visual Arts Contest for high school students.

October 8, 2004

Good work artists!

It was hard judging, as usual. While having lunch with the other judges we talked about how difficult it is, as artists, to push past the ordinary to get to the excellence. Even professional artists want to stop along the way and say, “that is it.” One teacher said, “My students get upset when I tell them they are not done.” Please try to remember that those who say such things are not trying to pick on you or please don?t think that there is no pleasing them. They are just trying to push you to do your very best. It is almost like there is a wall in between you and excellence. Those who push past that wall, pushing themselves or finding others to help push them are the winners. As you become a professional you will get use to pushing yourself, but as I said it is hard even as a professional.

Both my husband and I are artists. There have been times when we have started a project and abandoned it for something totally different. This is o.k. as well. You might even need to do this a couple of times. The other times are not failures, instead consider it as part of the process.

Here is a hint for the other categories that have not submitted yet. Presentation is everything. If there are things you think you could have done differently, then you probably should have. To be honest there are areas that I have judged before where pieces were moved up because of the presentation. Which means, if you mount or frame or create bases or whatever for your piece, put as much thought and effort into that as you did the sculpture, believe me it makes a difference. When it gets down to the end, the judges will be discussing the last of the pieces and your presentation might just push yourself up in the category. You never know.

Judging is very subjective, which means that if there were 4 other judges in there today they might have picked different pieces or a different order. I can tell everyone put a lot of work into his or her pieces. I applaud all of you who have even submitted work. That is an accomplishment. Keep working hard, and keep trying. Remember not to take it personally, it is all part of the journey.

Bridgette Mongeon
Sculptor Judge

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