HACEP Honors Spring 2018 Art Contest Winners, Launches New Theme

Winners across four categories honored with cash prizes

EL PASO, Texas – Artists who submitted work for the Housing Authority of the City of El Paso, TX (HACEP)  Spring 2018 Art Contest were celebrated during an intimate reception on August 2 at the Main Library in Downtown El Paso. Winners across four categories were announced, with cash prizes up to $950 awarded to winners.

The theme for the spring contest was “The Transformation of El Paso,” which challenged area artists to artistically interpret the recent growth of HACEP and El Paso across three categories – Middle School, High School and Above and Beyond. A special social media prize, the People’s Choice Award, was also awarded during the gala.  

Valerie Raven Hernandez took the top spot in the Middle School category. Her drawing, “El Paso is a Homerun of a City,” featured new icons of El Paso’s recent construction boom – including the Westside Natatorium, The Fountains at Farah and Southwest University Park, with the El Paso Chihuahuas mascot, Chico, included in the illustration. For her efforts, Hernandez won a $250 prize.

Kristen Tomson was awarded first place in the High School category for creating “Heart of the City,” a graphic illustration showing a silhouetted family that appears to be under construction against an El Paso sunset. Tomson was awarded a $450 prize for winning the high school category.

While Morgan Herbert took second place in the High School category for her painting, “Timeless,” she was the People’s Choice Award winner. Herbert’s painting took home $100 for being the artist whose image garnered the most likes and shares on HACEP’s Facebook page. Herbert’s painting captures the transformation of the once-desert area into the bustling cityscape El Paso is known as today.

HACEP’s Above and Beyond category, which accepts work from college students and adult artists, was the most competitive with more than 15 artists in competition. Work included mixed media, sculpture, graphic design and paintings.

Sheila Mendez’s “The New El Paso,” a delicate – and fully functional – masa paper fan made with copper wire and wood took the top award of the night, winning Mendez $950. On the body of the fan, Mendez drew the El Paso Streetcar against a sunset with native plants surrounding the streetcar, highlighting the region’s natural beauty and revitalization efforts.

This year’s Art Contest was judged by City Council District #1 Representative Peter Svarzbein, an advocate and supporter of local art and artists; Clive Cochran, a faculty member for the University of Texas at El Paso’s Department of Art and Rocio Salinas, UTEP alumna and co-founder of Minimo Studio.

At the gala, HACEP officials unveiled the theme for the next art contest, scheduled for fall of this year. The Fall 2018 theme is “El Paso is My Home,” and challenges local artists to define what “home” means to them.

Since its inception, the HACEP Art Contest has run in the spring. However, contest organizers this year shifted the contest to the fall to sync up teachers, should they choose to include the art contest in their curriculum.

Hernandez, Tomson, Herbert and Mendez are set to be honored once again during the regular HACEP Board of Commissioner’s meeting on Aug. 22, 2018.

The full HACEP Spring 2018 Art Contest gallery will be on display at the Main Library in Downtown El Paso until the end of August. The deadline for the Fall 2018 contest is set for Friday, October 26 at 5:00 p.m.

For more information, visit: hacep.org/artcontest

To see photos of each piece, click here.


The Housing Authority of the City El Paso, TX (HACEP), the 14th largest housing authority in the United States and manages the 2nd largest public housing portfolio in Texas. Home to the first NetZero, fossil fuel free, LEED Platinum affordable housing community in the U.S., HACEP provides high-quality housing assistance to over 40,000 low-income El Pasoans through its Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, Tax Credit, Non-Subsidized and Section 8 New Construction programs.


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