April 13, 2017
Story by Micah Oelze
Barton Community College art students will line the walls of the Shafer Art Gallery with their work during the Barton Student Art Exhibit juried art show 6-8 p.m. April 21. The show will run through May 12.
The reception will include an awards ceremony where cash awards will be given for each category. The awards were donated by The Credit Union of America in Great Bend, Karen and Dale Shaner, Don and Barbara Beahm, The Great Bend Tribune, Eagle Communications, Bob Feldt, Kent Weltmer and Maureen Leahy.
Art Instructor Steve Dudek helped organize the awards and said he feels grateful for the generosity of the donors.
“We really want to thank them for helping support the Art Department,” he said. “It gives our students the feeling of a real competition. It lets them see that they can win awards for their art. The students are very appreciative of this and it’s a big honor for them to get one.”
Audra Jullian is a freshman seeking an Associate of Art degree who entered five pieces of work in this year’s exhibit and is excited to see her art and her peer’s art showcased.
“I helped show some students how to stretch their canvas, apply gesso and build frames for their canvases. I have had a lot of experience with the process and some students have not had any,” Jullian said. “It’s nice to see all the pieces of art work and know that I have helped with a few.”
Like theater and band students who have their stage performances and recitals or the athletes who have their games and meets, this is an opportunity for the art students to show their skills to the community.
“I’m excited to be a part of this,” said Madeline Nelson, a freshman in art. “It’s fun to show everyone what we have been doing all year.”
Secily Mills, another freshman art student agreed with Nelson.
“It’s nice to see other people look at my art and other students work as well,” she said. “It makes me feel proud.”
Shafer Art Gallery Director Dave Barnes said the student exhibit is an important part of encouraging artists.
“Each year we have the opportunity to showcase the work being produced in art classes at Barton Community College, and I do mean work,” he said. “The labor and effort these students have put into the objects displayed in this exhibit is phenomenal, but their labor alone does not make art. The famous polyglot mathematician Michael Polyani in his book ‘Meanings,’ says art-making is a social skill, a collaboration between the audience and the artist. If the work is not seen and talked about, the artist is just a fabricator. It is only in conversation and dialogue that things become meaningful or become art. Student work must be seen to be validated as art. This show is our opportunity to enter into the process of validating our student artists’ work and vision and making of it, art with meaning.”
The show will be judged by artist and retired Fort Hays State University faculty member Kathleen Kuchar. During the reception, Kuchar will present a talk regarding her choices for the winning pieces.
The Shafer Art Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Admission is always free.