Feb. 18, 2018 — HOUSTON —  The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo recognized 82 talented young artists from across Texas during the School Art Program Awards Ceremony, Sunday, Feb. 18.


Among the honorees were the Class Champions and Reserve Class Champions in the following categories: Monochromatic, Mixed Medium, Painting, Colored Drawing, 3-D, Junior High and Elementary.


One day after his 18th birthday, Emilio Recio, a senior from Pasadena Independent School District, took home the Grand Champion Work of Art title with his oil painting, “By Dawn’s Early Light.” Recio said he chose to paint this specific image, which highlights a rancher feeding his horses in the early-morning hours, because of the connection he felt with the man in the photo.


“I really enjoy painting people and have actually painted him before,” Recio said. “I fell in love with this piece because of the overall look of the photo. He’s a hard-working guy just doing what he loves.”


The painting took the high school student two months and hundreds of hours to complete. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career in art with aspirations to become an art teacher.


Katy ISD senior Janice Khang’s painting “Horsing Around” was selected Reserve Grand Champion Work of Art. Her painting depicts two cowboys enjoying a hearty laugh after a long day’s work. Khang said portraying emotions is important to her and she payed close attention to the details in the reference photo in order to connect with the painting.


“For this painting, I focused on the details from the depth and colors on their faces to the wrinkles and angles of their mouths,” Khang said. “I even made their facial expressions myself to feel their emotions.”


Khang began drawing and painting in high school to perfect her fine art techniques and plans to pursue a career in graphic design upon graduation.


Both students credited their parents support for helping them make it to this point and were overwhelmed with excitement to have received top honors.


The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo School Art Program received 682 entries in 2018 with 72 students selected to participate in the School Art Auction. The auction is open to the public and will be held Sunday, March 11, at noon in the NRG Arena Sales Pavilion.


Winning artwork will be on display in the Hayloft Gallery, located in the lobby of NRG Center throughout the duration of the Rodeo.


Learn more about the School Art Program and see the winning artwork at rodeohouston.com/Educational-Support/School-Art-Program.


The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo™ promotes agriculture by hosting an annual, family-friendly experience that educates and entertains the public, supports Texas youth, showcases Western heritage and provides year-round educational support within the community. Since its beginning in 1932, the Rodeo has committed more than $450 million to the youth of Texas. For more information, visit rodeohouston.com and connect with #RODEOHOUSTON online via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for all of the latest news. The 2018 Rodeo is scheduled for Feb. 27 – March 18.