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Spring High School Senior’s Artwork Selected for Yearlong Display in ‘Governor’s Gallery’

Spring High School senior Zandra Addington’s oil painting 'Melancolia' is among 14 pieces statewide selected for a yearlong exhibit in the Governor’s Business Office at the Texas State Capitol
Spring High School senior Zandra Addington’s oil painting “Melancolia” is among 14 pieces statewide selected for a yearlong exhibit in the Governor’s Business Office at the Texas State Capitol.

HOUSTON - March 30, 2020 - Having already been selected by the Texas Art Education Association (TAEA) to appear in this year’s Youth Art Month Capitol Celebration, Spring High School senior Zandra Addington’s winning piece, “Melancolia,” has been chosen by Texas First Lady Cecilia Abbott for a yearlong display in the Governor’s Business Office at the Texas State Capitol. Addington’s artwork is one of just 14 from across the state selected this year.

“We’re absolutely thrilled for Zandra, and really proud of her,” said Spring ISD Visual Arts Coordinator Amanda Byers. “It’s a real honor to have artwork selected for the Governor’s Office, and it’s so nice to see our Spring ISD students shining on a statewide scale.”

The annual tradition of the Governor’s Gallery began more than two decades ago. The yearlong display includes select pieces from TAEA’s Youth Art Month exhibit, staged each spring in the Capitol Rotunda in Austin and the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum. Governor’s Gallery honorees join a special exhibit that will remain on display for the next year in the business offices of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Addington, who for the past two years has studied with Spring High School art teacher Lizbeth Ramagnoli, said she was happy to be representing her campus and Spring ISD.

“I was really pleasantly surprised to be selected,” Addington said during a telephone interview from her home, where she and her family have been staying safe during the COVID-19 school closures. “It’s very admirable that they’re continuing to open up opportunities for artists even after all of this stuff that’s going down.”

Although the Youth Art Month and Governor’s Gallery receptions are on hold for now, Addington isn’t letting the closure keep her from her creative work. Asked if she had any advice for others at home with time on their hands who might be interested in pursuing a creative project, she said the best advice was just to dive right in and then keep going.

“You should never give up,” Addington said, adding that, from her perspective as an artist, “Every second of free time that you have would be best used in a creative way. And no matter how much you get set back, don’t be discouraged. Just keep doing art every opportunity that you get.”

For Addington, who has been drawing and painting since she was a young child, those opportunities continue to grow. In addition to having her piece selected for the 2020 Governor’s Gallery, she also recently learned that she had been awarded a competitive scholarship to attend the prestigious School of the Art Institute of Chicago – ranked among the top art and design schools in the world – after graduation.

“I’ve had my eye on that school for a while now,” Addington said. “I was very hesitant to kind of put all my eggs in one basket, because art school is pretty expensive, but when I heard I got the scholarship I was totally on board.”

Addington’s mother, Terri Hardin, described their colorful house filled with cherished original paintings hanging on the walls, works-in-progress in varying degrees of completion, and smudges of paint on the door knobs that will serve as loving reminders when her daughter heads to Chicago this fall.

“She is in every sense of the word an artist,” said Hardin. “There’s never been a question what she was going to do with her life.”

Hardin said she was nervous like any parent getting ready to send their child off to college, especially in uncertain times, but that she felt confident her daughter was on the right path, and ready to make the most of every opportunity.

“Zan is not only a wonderful artist, but she’s a wonderful human being. She is very, very special,” Hardin said. “And from the first time she stuck her finger in finger paints, it was magical.”