Shayla Hanna, senior at Hillsboro High School (left), looks on as River Cecil, senior at Hillsboro, works to remove a plaster cast from his arm at an art workshop during the Central Kansas League Art Festival at McPherson College
Blink and you just might miss the shortest art exhibition that McPherson College has hosted all year.
For the fourth year in a row, the Central Kansas League invited McPherson College to host its annual art festival, which was held on April 30.
Vickie Folck, art and photography teacher at Lyons High School, was organizer for this year’s festival.
“McPherson College just puts on a fabulous event for us,” she said. “They are the ultimate hosts.”
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), Larned and Hoisington.
This year brought 110 students to campus, displaying 318 works of outstanding artwork in mediums including paint, pencil, ink, ceramics, photography… even coffee.
Wayne Conyers, McPherson College professor of art, said that the league festival used to be held in gymnasiums, with work hung on chicken wire, and the workshops held in unsuitable hallways and classrooms.
In 2010, the head of the league that year proposed that the next festival be held at McPherson College. Conyers looked into it and agreed to have MC was the festival’s host for 2011. Now instead of gymnasiums, students hang their work in the Friendship Hall gallery. Instead of hallways, high school students get to experience true college-level art studios.
While their work was being judged by Ted Krone, art program director at Friends University at Wichita, and Ann Krone, adjunct professor of art at Friends, students had the opportunity to take workshop classes in McPherson College’s arts facilities. These included jewelry design, wheelthrowing ceramics and oil pastels, among others.
Lydia Kliewer, a sophomore from Hillsboro High School, learned how to create textile art through a process called “felting.” She said her mother, who works with weaving, spinning and knitting, was excited that she was taking the workshop.
“I think this is a really great experience,” she said.
One floor down, River Cecil, a senior also from Hillsboro, learned about how to make plaster casts of his own arm that would later have clay molded into it. He started wincing as he tried to take it off, however, because of one factor he hadn’t considered: Arm hair.
“It hurts,” he said, after finally managing to pry it off. “Look, it’s still red there. It feels better now that I got it off, though.”
Central Kansas Art League Festival Awards Results
Gold • Best of Show: “Rough Stare” - Victoria McManus, Sterling • “Peacock” - Libby Reimer, Hesston • Photography - Tyler Divelbess, Smoky Valley • Clay - Talerra Williams, Nickerson • “Bullseye” - Brogan Jones, Sterling • “Haitian Dreamers” - Libby Reimer, Hesston • “The Catch” - Cody Salazar, Sterling • “Girl With Hat” - Erin Wiebe, Hillsboro • “Tip-Toe” - Jody Gunther, Sterling • “Gentle Stare” - Jessica Ricker, Sterling • “Lock and Key” - Jody Gunther, Sterling • “On the Beach” - Breckyn Fox, Sterling • “Docked” - Veronica Norez, Sterling • “Beauty in Flaws” - Riley Frances Seibel, Halstead • “What Have You Done? What Will You Do?” - Melissa Walton, Halstead • “Ink Wash #3” - Alexis Lasater, Lyons