Jewelry, pottery, photography, ceramics and glass, paint, watercolors — nearly every artistic medium is represented in this year's Scholastic Art Awards.
About 200 students in middle and high schools across Kansas have a combined 364 works in the show. Six jurors chose the works from more than 1,800 entries.
"It is always so exciting to see the creativity that comes out of these students," says Amy Reep, show coordinator at Wichita Center for the Arts. "Each one begins with the same blank piece of paper or the same lump of clay and from there the possibilities are endless."
A student in ceramics, Henry Engelmeyer of Rose Hill High School, threw a one-inch pot on a potter's wheel using an Xacto knife to form and shape it. "That takes such skill and innovation," Reep said. Engelmeyer won a Gold Key for the piece, which is the highest award given.
Paige Downing, also from Rose Hill, won a Gold Key for her colored pencil drawing of a golden retriever, and Walter Jaimes of Emporia won a Gold Key for an eagle meticulously crafted from metal.
Those are just a few examples of the kind of art viewers will see at the show, Reep said.
"There is so much talent and so much emotion in these works," she said. "A lot of these pieces have a story, and there is something here that everyone will connect with."
Five of the Gold Key award winners in the show will be honored as American Vision Nominees, which means their works will be entered at the national level in the American Vision Awards in New York. One award will be given to an artist from each region across the country.
Reep said that despite budget cuts in school districts across the state, art classes continue to be popular among students.
"We had a huge number of entries this year," she said.
All students wishing to enter their work must pay an entry fee. Schools sometimes cover the costs, but often it is left to the students or their parents.
"There were even some teachers who paid out of their own pockets," Reep said. "That is dedication right there, and shows how important this is to both the students and the teachers."
Scholarships also are awarded each year to participants in the show. This year, about $421,000 in scholarships and cash awards were made, Reep said.
"This show represents how important the arts are," she said. "This talent starts very young and we need to keep supporting that in these kids and feeding it. This is our next generation of nationally showing artists."