Marion art show will feature work by artists of all ages

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN TOM STOPPEL
It might not be confused with the Guggenheim or the Louvre, but the Annual Art Show at Butler County Community College of Marion offers a piece of culture not often associated with central Kansas.

Located at 412 N. Second St., the show begins with an open house, complete with refreshments, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Monday, May 3. The show is open to the public from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., May 4, 5 and 6.

“This isn’t a show that features beginners talent. Some of these artists have painting for 15-20 years,” said Pat Wick of Ramona, who is the BCCC art instructor. “The purpose of this art show is to give the people in the Marion and surrounding communities a cultural lift and to see what their neighbors are capable of doing.”

Wick said a cross section of Marion and surrounding area artists will be represented in the show.

“The show will feature my Butler students, a group of elementary home school students I teach, and students from the art classes at Marion High School,” Wick said. “I think people will be amazed at what some of these younger kids can do.”

Wick said about 25 high school students, 10 elementary students and 15 Butler students will display their wares at the show, which will be comprised entirely of paintings.

“The class I teach at Butler is a painting class,” Wick said. “My students work in all different kinds of media’watercolors, pastels, oils and acrylics.”

Wick first became associated with the show while teaching art at Centre Elementary School.

“I showed some of their work at this show and they (Butler) were losing their art teacher, so they asked me if I’d be interested in teaching here,” she said. “But this show isn’t about the teacher in any way-it showcases the people and their talent.

“They’re very proud of their work and rightfully so, and it’s fun to see it exhibited,” she added.

Wick said the class she teaches at Butler involves students age 45 to 85.

“Most of my students audit the class,” she said. “They don’t need the credit hours, they just do it to get better and for the friendships they’ve developed.”

Wick said this year, the class enjoyed something out of the ordinary.

“It’s very interesting because we had a couple of live models come to our Butler class this time,” Wick said. “Nick Krause (Marion) and Tim Steinborn (Ramona) both posed for us so we’ll have some portraiture in the show.

“My students have been working really hard because they didn’t want the guys who posed to be disappointed their pictures weren’t in the show.”

Wick said each artist has her or his own reason for painting, but the show provides a common goal.

“The people who exhibit hope those who come in and view their paintings will say to themselves, ‘Hey, I can do that,’ and maybe take an active interest in painting,” Wick said. “One of my students told me our art class isn’t just a class, it’s therapy.”

Wick said the class offers a sense of community for those involved.

“It’s like an extended family,” she said. “It’s much more than an art class-it’s a group of friends who are all learning together.”

Among those showing their work shown is Marion resident Mary Alice Jolley.

“Mary Alice doesn’t do the normal-she’s really good at abstract painting,” Wick said. “I think that’s a progression a lot of artists have.

“The artist might start painting something that looks cute but evolves into expressing themselves in different ways,” she added. “Mary Alice isn’t afraid to express herself in any way.”

Jolley agreed, saying art is a form of release and hopes people will come out and view their works.

“The show gives other people a chance to come out and see what we can do,” Jolley said. “We put a lot of feeling and time into our paintings.

“It’s a way to express our inner selves,” she added. “Many of us in the class are retired and this class is self-rewarding. When you’ve led a busy professional life, you need another outlet.”

Bernie and Marie Holtsclaw (Cedar Point), are members of Wick’s class, too. Bernie said no one was more surprised than he was to discover his artistic ability.

“I couldn’t draw a stick figure when I started, but I was bringing Marie to class so I decided to try it and danged if I didn’t like it,” he said. “I like the friendships I’ve made here, too. We’re able to criticize each other without offending anyone.

“It’s really nice to have people look at our art work,” he said. “It’s not an ego thing, but more the fact that we’ve accomplished something.”

Judy Reno of Marion said the evolution of her talents and the talents of others sometimes amazes her.

“When I go back and look at pictures I painted when I first started and what I paint now, I see how dramatically my style and abilities have changed,” she said. “I thought I’d be a hobbyist, but I turned into an artist.”

Jolley is hopeful a large number of people will take the opportunity to attend the show.

“This is a close community and most of the people are very civic conscious and they’ll come out and share what we do,” Jolley said. “I’m sure anyone who comes out and looks at the art work will be pleasantly surprised.”

Refreshments will be served during the show.

For more information, call BCCC-Marion at 620-382-2183.

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