Best of Show: “A Penny for Your Thoughts” by Yasmine Maskil, Sterling
Works of art: 300. High school artists: 100.
Length of exhibition… just 5 hours.
The Central Kansas League Art Festival is - hands down - the shortest art exhibition McPherson College hosts. On April 24, the college’s Friendship Hall exhibition space was a whirlwind of noisy activity as high school artists from all around Central Kansas converged and brought out their best work.
The annual festival offers a professionally juried exhibition for high school students who are selected by their teachers at Sterling, Halstead, Hesston, Hillsboro, Haven, Kingman, Lyons, Nickerson, Pratt, and Smoky Valley (Lindsborg).
Rachel Epp Buller, assistant professor of art at Bethel College, was this year’s juror and said she faced a difficult task to select which of the many strong works on display to recognize.
Students Choice - “Napping Turtle” by Ryce Stuckey, Sterling
“It’s so exciting to see the quality of work that’s coming out of Central Kansas, even with limited budgets, sometimes,” she said. “These teachers do great things on a shoestring budget. There’s no work here that doesn’t deserve to be here.”
The mediums and subjects covered ran the gamut - such as a wire sculpture of a human figure; a flower collage of colored paper, newsprint, and musical manuscripts; and even a landscape painted with coffee.
Wayne Conyers, McPherson College professor of art, said that the league festival used to be held in gymnasiums, with the work hung on chicken wire and the workshops held in hallways and classrooms that were often unsuitable.
In 2010, the head of the league that year proposed that the next festival be held at McPherson College. Conyers looked into it, agreed, and in 2011 MC was the festival’s host.
Now instead of gymnasiums, there was Friendship Hall gallery. Instead of hallways, there were fully equipped art studios. The festival has been at MC for three years now, and Conyers said he would accept they league’s request for McPherson College to host for as long as they wanted to ask.
“What a way to serve the greater community of art educators - both the teachers and students,” he said.
While their work was judged, the 100 students made their way to Hess Fine Arts Center to take workshops in metal jewelry, drawing, and wheelthrown ceramics. An unusual workshop offering - packing tape sculpture - found Mickayla Bigham of Smoky Valley High School wrapping clear tape around the head of Nate Murano of Halstead High school… being careful to leave the nose open to breathe, of course. Afterwards the packing tape “cast” was carefully cut off and combined with other taped body parts to create the full sculpture.
Mickayla Bigham, Smoky Valley High School, tapes the head of Nate Murano, Halstead High School for a “Packing Tape Sculpture” workshop. The tape “cast” was later removed and attached to the clear torso in the background.
“I love coming to these things; it’s a lot of fun,” Bigham said, adding. “Especially when you get to tape people’s heads.”
The “tapee,” Nate Murano of Halstead, chimed in when his mouth was once again free. “It was a new experience,” he said, deadpanning.
Conyers pointed to the quality work in the show and the student engagement in workshops as proof that art education remains important and relevant in schools.
“For anyone who says the arts are dead in public schools,” he said. “All they need to do is look in Friendship Hall and see that it’s alive and well in Central Kansas.”
Central Kansas Art League Festival Awards Results
Best of Show “A Penny for Your Thoughts” by Yasmine Maskil, Sterling
Gold • “Human” by Keryson House, Halstead • “The Human” by Katrina Heinrich, Hesston • “Tiled Me” by Libby Reimer, Hesston • “Interwoven” by Brenda Sanchez, Hesston • “Lion” by Kalie Siebert, Hillsboro • “Sparrow” by Adam Schonlau, Kingman • “Fish Tales” by Beth Miller, Lyons • “Untitled” by Keona Jordan, Nickerson • “Marie” by Whitney Tilley, Pratt • “Dusty Bookshelf” by Karly Frederick, Sterling • “Antique Map” by Lydia Lambert, Sterling • “Silo Teapot” by Tanner Stallings, Sterling • “A Moment in Time” by Yasmine Maskil, Sterling • “Wash Your Brushes” by Ryce Stuckey, Sterling • “Behind the Fan” by Valerie Norez, Sterling • “Peppers” by Valerie Norez, Sterling
Silver • Students Choice - “Napping Turtle” by Ryce Stuckey, Sterling • “Earth and Space” by Matthew Rodenberg, Halstead • “Weeping Willow” by Caitlin Rosiere, Haven • “Hoot” by Kiley Varney, Hesston • “--” by Mary Earl, Hesston • “Acid Trip” by Karina Torres, Hillsboro • “Reflections” by Adam Schonlau, Kingman • “Don’t Wait” by Beth Miller, Lyons • “Sands of Time” by Piper Mead, Nickerson • “Microphone” by Mickayla Bigham, Smoky Valley (Lindsborg) • “Direct Observation” by Naomi Shultz, Smoky Valley (Lindsborg) • “Lost Frog” by Michaela Heart, Smoky Valley (Lindsborg) • “Rain Princess” by Yasmine Maskil, Sterling • “Raindrops of Leaftops” by Vojtech Kolarik, Sterling • “Across the Ocean” by Victoria McManus, Sterling • “Dry Skin” by Sanna Kotka, Sterling
Honorable Mention • “4 Seasons” by Christina Base, Halstead • “City in a Bottle” by Christina Base, Halstead • “Bowls” by Hannah Sutcliffe, Halstead • “Leo” by Emily Parker, Haven • “Brainz” by Emily Parker, Haven • “Day Dreamer” by Bailey Barker, Hesston • “Hong Kong Trip Skyline” by Libby Reimer, Hesston • “Flower” by Kalie Siebert, Hillsboro • “Intensity” by Meghan Leihy, Hillsboro • “Sunset Silhouette” by Matthew Reeh, Hillsboro • “Space” by Janessa Rinke, Kingman • “Left Over Lady” by Mayra Armendariz, Lyons • “Morogoro” by Cambry Schrag, Pratt • “Gambling” by Maranda Green, Pratt • “Bent’s Bowl” by Ashley Austin, Pratt • “Up a Tree” by Austin Crawford, Smoky Valley (Lindsborg)