Austin-area Take Care of Texas Kid’s Art Contest Winners Celebrate with Front Yard Ceremony

Release Date
Wed, May 26 2021
Tiffany Young
art contest winners

Pictured (left to right): Sponsor Texas Chemical Council General Counsel Sam Gammage,
second-grade winner Seoyul Kim, TCEQ Commissioner Emily Lindley, grand prize winner
Minchae Kim and art teacher Yangsoon Lee

Winners of the Take Care of Texas art contest were recently announced, revealing that two Austin area contestants, the grand prize winner and the second-grade winner, happened to have the same private art teacher.

Minchae Kim, a fourth-grade student at Rutledge Elementary School in Leander ISD was named the contest’s grand prize winner for her drawing of a sunset and a bluebonnet-lined road. Seoyul Kim (unrelated to Minchae) of Elsa England Elementary School in Round Rock ISD earned the top prize among second-grade entries for her drawing of a cowgirl lassoing a soda can, preventing it from becoming litter. 

The two winners were coached by Yangsoon Lee, who helped them submit their artwork digitally. Lee previously had students who placed among the finalists, but this was the first time one of her students won the grand prize.

In a typical year, the grand prize winner is invited to attend the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality’s Environmental Trade Fair and Conference. But since this year’s event was canceled due to COVID, TCEQ’s Take Care of Texas program coordinated a small ceremony for the winners and their teacher at the grand prize winner’s home.

TCEQ Commissioner Emily Lindley congratulated the winners and their teacher recently, delivering Minchae a tablet computer for her winning entry as her family looked on. Second-grade winner Seoyul was also congratulated and won an iPad.

“It’s inspiring to see students are thinking of ways early on to protect our beautiful state while sharing that knowledge through art,” Lindley said.  “All of the students’ entries were impressive. I’m honored to be able to congratulate the Austin winners.” 

“I was so amazed and definitely excited,” Lee said of hearing that two of her students had won in the art contest. “I have been teaching art to students of many ages for many years now, but I have never had two students win at once, and the first grand prize winner at that! It was hard for my art studio to re-open for business due to the pandemic, but we didn't give up. My students and I worked hard to make up for lost time, and to see their works recognized made it all worth it.”

She typically teaches about 30 students in grades K-12 in her private studio, but currently has 12 students. 

Lee learned about the contest when one of her children brought a flyer home and has encouraged her students to participate ever since.

The contest allows students to learn about ways to protect the environment and share that knowledge with others through art.

“I am always looking for meaningful themes for my students to explore. I wanted to teach them to appreciate and care for Texas, and how blessed we are to live in a beautiful land. I wanted them to learn to preserve and treasure the Earth and environment they will grow up to inherit. Of course, I'm also looking to show my students’ talent to the world through these contests as well,” Lee said. 

She said Minchae, the grand prize winner, has been working with her for about four years now, and always has an abundance of ideas for her artworks. 

“She's submitted and won her fair share of competitions already, and she always shows good attention to detail and a sense for color,” Lee said.

Seoyul, who won the second-grade prize, has worked with Lee for about two years and excels in putting her own style into her characters and strives to find the right colors to match. 
Texas Chemical Council sponsored this year’s contest, which funded prizes for their winning entries. To see the full list of winners and to learn more about the contest, visit the Take Care of Texas website.

contest winners
Pictured (left to right): Second-grade winner Seoyul Kim, TCEQ Commissioner Emily Lindley, grand prize winner Minchae Kim and art teacher Yangsoon Lee


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