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Artists recognized at 2020 NWKL Art Show

Oberlin art teacher Jillian Springer and the rest of the NWKL art teachers could not bear the thought of the NWKL Art Show being canceled, especially for the seniors. "Our art students work really hard to create works of art and definitely deserve an opportunity to show off their talents," said Mrs. Springer.

This year was a year of change for the NWKL Art Show. It would have been Mrs. Springer's second year hosting it, and she and the other art teachers in the league were working together to make it more of an event for students to look forward to and attend. According to Mrs. Springer, the sculpture crew from Fort Hays States University was scheduled to come out and do blacksmithing demonstrations while the students' artwork was being judged. Groups of students were to rotate between eating lunch picnic style, blacksmithing, and touring the Last Indian Raid Museum, while the art pieces were being judged. 

To conclude the day, they were planning an awards ceremony, where the judges would talk about their decisions and present the overall best of show, which was a big change the art teachers decided to implement this year.  For the high school art students this year, the judges chose one Best of Show from the league schools, rather than each school having its own Best of Show.  The junior high and elementary divisions stayed the same with one Best of Show and ten honorable mentions per school, with no overall league winner.

Because of COVID 19 and school closures, the traditional league art show was canceled.  In its place, Mrs. Springer spent hours putting together a virtual art show - complete with judging and awards.

This year, the overall Best of Show award went to Lexi  Beesley, a junior from Dighton, for her mixed media project. 

According to Mrs. Springer, it has been many years since the NWKL Art Show was a competition with an overall winner. The high school judge also was able to decide the number of honorable mentions that he gave out. In the past each school got a Best of Show and 15 honorable mentions. Decatur Community High School received six honorable mentions in addition to the top three judged pieces.  First place went to senior Kimi Strohm for her surrealistic mixed media piece. Junior Lily Hendrickson received second place with her blueberry pie ceramic piece, and senior Alissa Sporn was third with her ceramic rose.

Honorable Mention awards were also given to Malia Bishop, Kimi Strohm, Sage Lohoefener, Jenna Juenemann, Anna Carter, and the installation art work done collaboratively by Alana Bishop, Ellie Anderson, Bryson Metcalf, Kennedy Jensen, Nick Baker, and Kimi Strohm.

For the Oberlin junior high, Ryllie Lippelmann won Best of Show with her ceramic piece. Honorable Mention awards went to Cameo Counter, Jesse Hendrickson, Kelsey Sheats, Madison Urban, Jenna Fortin, Ryllie Lippelmann, Weston Barnes, McKayla Stanford, and two pieces for Michaela Wasson.

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Gus Bryan, a fourth grader, won Best of Show for Oberlin Elementary School for his mixed media animal collage.  Receiving Honorable Mention were Kelsen Kane, Hudson Tally, Tanya Wallace, Kelynn Wentz, Gemma Louderback, Tessa Witt, Aniston Andrews, Kira Burmaster, Gage Williby, and Sage Bryan.

Mrs. Springer would like to thank the judges for taking the time to carefully consider each of the works submitted to the art shows. "I know many hours went into the judges' selections," said Mrs. Springer. "Luckily they got to do it from the comfort of their own home." 

Elementary judge was Lamoureux Fulwider, a retired elementary art teacher from Colby. John Clesson of McCook was the junior high judge.  He is local artist and member of the McCook Art Guild.

Judging the high school art was Tobias Flores, a sculpture professor from Fort Hays State. "Toby has been, and still is, one of my greatest mentors," said Mrs. Springer. "He inspired me to want to be an art instructor, and I find myself using his teaching styles in my own classroom."

"Art class is so important in our schools," said Mrs. Springer. "It helps children with the development of motor skills, language skills, social skills, decision-making, risk-taking, and inventiveness. Students are used to there being a "right" answer, or teachers telling them what to do. With art, they must use those major higher-level thinking skills to decide what their right answer is to the visual problem given in the assignment, or even harder, coming up with their own projects. It's a balance of skill and imagination."

To see all of the art entered in the 2020 NWKL Art Show, click on the link below:


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