“Cypress Branches” Proves Big Talent Can Be Found
on Small Campuses

 “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.”

Contributors to “Cypress Branches,” the literary journal of Lamar State College-Orange, know just how true that sentence is. Through the various crafts of 20 students, plus faculty and community members, this year’s journal is a showcase of the artistic talent on campus and in the surrounding cities.

This year, 59 students submitted entries to the “Cypress Branches.” After being submitted, the entries were divided by type of art and were sent off to be judged. This year’s judges’ panel included Sarah Boehme, director of the Stark Museum of Art, who judged the art entries; Carolyn Mello, LSC-O English instructor, judged the poetry entries; Dr. Matt McClure, LSC-O professor of biology, and Carol Abshire, LSC-O Lab Tech III, both serious photographers, judged photography entries; and Andrew Preslar, LSC-O professor of English, judged the prose entries.

Four winners from each category of art were named and included in the “Cypress Branches.” In the category of “Art: Two Dimensional,” first-place winner was “A Child’s Fantasy” by Blake LeLeux of Little Cypress-Mauriceville; second place was “Four Beauties” by Monica Goats, a duplicate award winner this year, of Orange; third place went to “Butterfly” by Samantha Freeman of Bridge City; the category’s honorable mention award went to “Circles” by Luke Rhodes of Bridge City. In the category of “Art: Three Dimensional,” first-place went to “Americans and Food” by James West of Orange; second place was “Innocents Afield” by Amber Burks of Buna; third place was “Whimsical Wings” by Mikaela Brown of Kountze, who was the category’s first-place winner last year; and the category’s honorable mention award went to “Flower Vase” by Danny Glenn of Vidor. 

In the category of “Prose,” first place-winner was “Powering Down” by Ashley Dougherty, a dual-credit student at LSC-O from Silsbee; second place was “Sun, Sand and Sisters” by Kim Hollingsworth of Longville, La.; third place was “Just Beyond the Door” by Tiffany Seigrist of Vidor, another two-time award winner this year; and the category’s honorable mention award went to “Soothing the Soul of Lady Butterfly” by Sandra Quaid Stark Latiolis of Bridge City. In the category of “Poetry,” first place went to “Seen Through a Lens” by Ariana Rain McCaughey of Starks, La.; second place was “This Too Shall Pass” by Tiffany Seigrist of Vidor; third place was “Portrait of Words” by Kyle Thompson of Orange; and the category’s honorable mention award went to “Slow Suicide” by Carmen White of Orange.

The final category in the competition was “Photography” and the first-place winner was “Pikes Place Market” by Monica Goats of Orange; second place was “Butterfly Kisses” by Stephanie Charrier of Lumberton; third place was “The Thinker” by Kimberley Marcontell of Orange; and the category’s honorable mention award went to “Atypical Fascination” by Tifanie Parry of Orange. 

The journal was first published as the “Cardinal View” in the fall semester of 1984 and continued to be published each semester through the spring of 1991. After a four-year interruption, the journal resumed publication in the fall of 1995. The name was changed to “Cypress Branches’” in the 2000-2001 school year to reflect LSC-O’s name change and its adoption of a new logo, as well as the inclusion of poetry, prose, photography and two-dimensional art.

The work of seven students was included in that 2001 journal. First place in each division received a 25 dollar prize; second place received a 15 dollar prize and third place received a 10 dollar prize. Prize amounts and participation have since exploded. First-place winners currently receive 200 dollars; second-place winners receive 100 dollars; third-place winners receive 50 dollars, and honorable mentions receive a 25 dollar prize. The first-place winner of the two-dimensional art category wins a 300 dollar prize and holds the distinction of having their art displayed on the front cover of the journal.

The 20 winning pieces will appear in the “Cypress Branches” and were on display at the annual Art in the Park Festival in Orange on March 26. Other contributions by LSC-O faculty and staff members include poetry by Carolyn Mello, Eric Swanson, Lisette Hodges, Randy Ford and Andrew Preslar; a cartoon strip by Dr. Matt McClure; art by Jackie Spears, and photography by Carol Abshire. The journal will also feature paintings by Delle Bates and Warren Griffin, a former LSC-O student and program director for the Kiwanis Club, and poetry by Kaycee Spears.

Family, friends and the community are invited to the sixth annual Cypress Branches Award Program, honoring these winners, April 28 at 3:30 p.m., in the Ron E. Lewis Library. Carmen White will recite her poem “Slow Suicide,” and Dr. Michael Shahan, president of LSC-O, and Bobbie Burgess, vice-president of student services and auxiliary enterprises at LSC-O, will present the awards. Refreshments will be served.