Artistic Talent Pays Off with Rodeo Art Scholarship

Ruchi Tiwari with her $22,000 winning painting at the Rodeo

By Jawahar Malhotra

HOUSTON: Never in her dreams did she imagine that an interest in painting that started in the backroom classes at Hobby Lobby in 3rd grade would get her so much recognition. But the persistency with which she built up her brush strokes and an eye for color and capturing how light falls on a subject gave her the skills to translate one last canvas in her final year at Cypress Woods High School.

Ruchi Tiwari imagined a lone cowgirl on a horse in front of a barren tree with the sunset ebbing in the background and had a friend pose for the picture taken from several angles. Then she worked at the vision that slowly evolved over two weeks during Christmas break, “eight hours a day”, she grinned. And her art teacher Qindeel Butt – a Pakistani American – submitted it in a competition to enter the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Ruchi’s was one out of 200,000 entries across the state.

A month later at an award ceremony on February 6, Ruchi learnt that her painting had been selected to be auctioned off at the rodeo. Five weeks later, on Sunday, March 13, Ruchi and her proud family were at the auction in at the rodeo and were excited and elated that her painting had been bought for $22,000. After the auctioneer’s fees, the money will go towards a scholarship for her undergraduate degree at Rice University.

Ruchi with her dad, Bachcha, a New York Life agent, and mom Madhu.

Ruchi,18, is the daughter of Bachcha Tiwari a well-known insurance agent with New York Life and a generous supporter of many community initiatives. Her mother Madhu is in business and her brother Nikhil, 22, just completed his undergraduate degree in Finance and marketing from the University of Houston,