Cypress Branches Showcases Artistic Talent on LSC-O Campus, Community

Cypress Branches Student Winners

Lamar State College-Orange held its annual Cypress Branches Awards on April 23, awarding 19 students for their artistic endeavors. The award ceremony is to recognize the contributions of the LSC-O students, faculty and staff, and community members that submitted entries for the campus’ “Cypress Branches Literary/Artistic Journal.” The journal is a showcase of the artistic talent on campus, within the community and in the surrounding areas.

This year, more than 60 students submitted entries, some in multiple categories, providing 107 total student entries. There were also 11 community contributions coming from as far as Lake Charles, La., with contributors ranging in ages from nine to senior citizens. There were also nine LSC-O faculty and staff contributions. These were published in the journal, but were not eligible for competition.  After being submitted, the entries were divided by type of art and sent off to be judged.

This year’s judges’ panel included Dr. Sarah Boehme, director of the Stark Museum of Art, who judged the art entries; Carolyn Mello, LSC-O English professor, who judged the poetry entries; Dr. Matt McClure, LSC-O biology professor, who judged the photography entries; and Andrew Preslar, LSC-O English professor, who judged the prose entries.

Four winners from each category were named and included in the “Cypress Branches” journal.  In the category of “Art: Two Dimensional,” first-place winner was “Bellow” by Hannah Bevil, a duplicate winner this year, of Port Neches; second place was “Vintology” by Galina Winfrey of Bridge City; third place went to “Quiescent” by Sam Easterling, another duplicate winner, of Buna; the category’s honorable mention award went to “Breaking Free” by Kristin Brown of Kountze. In the category of “Art: Three Dimensional,” first-place winner was “New Life” by Sam Easterling; second place went to “Layer” by Hannah Bevil; third place went to “Widow McFarlane Tombstone” by Chelsea Gentz of Deweyville; and the category’s honorable mention award went to “Food for Thought” by Mikaela E. Brown of Kountze.

In the category of “Prose,” first-place winner was “The Black Pearl” by Darren Doherty of Sulphur, La.; second place went to “Prologue” by Shayna Taylor, a dual-credit high school student from Silsbee High School; third place went to “Such a Big Heart” by Pauline Sherman of Orange; and the category’s honorable mention award went to “Hurricanes and Autism” by Tracy Pace of China. In the category of “Poetry,” first-place winner was “Illusion Unveiled” by Dale R. Fontenot, Jr. of Beaumont; second place went to “All Hallows Eve” by Hannah Hayes, another dual-credit student from Silsbee High School; third place went to “Lovers’ Tango” by Phillip Breaux of Nederland; and the category’s honorable mention award went to “The Awkward Duck” by April Collins of Port Arthur.

The final category in the competition was “Photography” and the first-place winner was “Mayfly” by Chase Dryden of Vidor; second place was “North Carolina” by Hannah Walters, a dual-credit student at Buna High School; third place was “Niagara Falls” by Tifanie Parry of Beaumont; and the category’s honorable mention award went to “Bookends” by Morgan Milligan of Orange.

“This year we received our largest-ever piece of art,” said Cypress Branches coordinator, Arlene Turkel. “The welded metal ‘New Life’ sculpture resembled a windmill and stood more than eight feet tall. It was our first interactive piece of art, as practically everyone who walked past it had to spin the windmill. This was also our first contest entry to be sold, since during its exhibition at Art in the Park, artist Sam Easterling negotiated a sale with a member of the community.”

Special contributions to the journal were made by community members in several categories. Cookie Phillips, Sharon Kosboth, Shirley Marshall, Karen Maddox, Timber Linscomb, George Millsap and Aimee Tait submitted various pieces of art. Poetry was submitted by Sydney Smith, a prose piece submitted by Bob Wilson, and Kaycee Spears submitted contributions in both the poetry and art categories. Other contributions made by LSC-O faculty and staff members included poetry by Carolyn Mello, Randy Ford and Lisette Hodges; and photography by Jackie Spears, Carol Gaspard, Linda Cheatham, Dr. Jerry Sanford and Larry Wilmore. Dr. Matt McClure submitted a contribution to the photography category, as well as a cartoon strip. All of these can be viewed in the “Cypress Branches Literary/Artistic Journal.”

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 225 dollars, second-place winners receive 100 dollars, and third-place winners receive 50 dollars. 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.

More than 100 guests attended the Cypress Branches Award Ceremony on April 23. Piano and vocal students provided music and Dr. Michael Shahan, president of LSC-O and Bobbie Burgess, vice-president of student services and auxiliary enterprises, presented the awards.