Art pieces by HHS students recognized at the Central Kansas League Art Festival in McPherson were; (from top) “Lion” by Kalie Siebert; “Acid Trip” by Karina Torres; “Flower” by Kalie Siebert; “Sunset Silhouette” by Matthew Reeh and “Intensity” by Meghan Leihy.
Five art pieces from Hillsboro High School students received recognition at the Central Kansas League Art Festival Wednesday at McPherson College.
The annual festival, a professionally juried exhibition, included 300 works from 100 artists—30 each from the 10 CKL schools: Sterling, Halstead, Hesston, Hillsboro, Haven, Kingman, Lyons, Nickerson, Pratt and Smoky Valley.
Two pieces from Kalie Siebert, a junior, were recognized. One, a colored-pencil work titled “Lion,” was among 16 entries to receive a gold rating. Her other piece, “Flower,” a paper collage piece, received honorable mention.
Karina Torres, a junior, received a silver rating for “Acid Trip,” an ink-pen drawing. Receiving honorable mention were photographs titled “Intensity,” by senior Meghan Leihy and “Sunset Silhouette” by junior Matthew Reeh.
“Kaile’s ‘Lion’ displayed her great usage of colored pencil to its fullest,” said Dustin Dalke, HHS art instructor. “It’s deep, rich pigment and blending shows her hard work and artistic skill.
“Karina Torres’ ink pen drawing was full of great textures and values,” he added. “Both Kalie and Karina work with a wide range of media in the high school art room, such as pastel, oil pastel, ink, watercolor, collage and others.”
Rachel Epp Buller, assistant professor of art at Bethel College, was this year’s juror. Buller said she faced a difficult task to select which of the many strong works on display to recognize.
“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 media and subjects covered ran the gamut—such as a wire sculpture of a human figure; a flower collage of colored paper, newsprint, musical manuscripts and even a landscape painted with coffee.
“The show is a display of the ‘best’ work produced from each school,” Dalke said. “In my opinion, there is not a bad piece there. This is our only opportunity to see what other schools are doing, media and style.
“I’m sure students from each school, including HHS, come home with inspiration and new ideas.”
Wayne Conyers, McPherson College professor of art, said the league festival used to be in gymnasiums, with the work hung on chicken wire and the workshops meeting in hallways and classrooms that often were unsuitable.
In 2010, the head of the league proposed that the next festival be at McPherson College. Conyers looked into it, agreed, and in 2011 the college became the host institution. The festival is held in the Friendship Center gallery, which includes fully equipped art studios.
While their work was judged, the 100 students made their way to Hess Fine Arts Center to take workshops in metal jewelry, drawing, and wheel-thrown ceramics.
An unusual workshop offering—packing tape sculpture—featured 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.
Afterward, the packing tape “cast” was carefully cut off and combined with other taped body parts to create the full sculpture.
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.