Reception for student exhibit draws crowd Sunday

April 2, 2012
Story and photo by Brandon Steinert 

Barton art student Bill Mckown poses next to his digital piece, “Grape Leaf,” which earned him 2D Best of Show at the Shafer Art Gallery opening reception for the student exhibit. The students’ work will be available for the public to enjoy until April 22.

Barton student Bill Mckown was a talented young sculptor in the early 1970s, and showed great potential during his early years in college. However, a car accident in 1975 left him paralyzed from the neck down, an incident that changed him for the rest of his life.

That still wasn’t enough to hold back his artistic drive, as McKown was recognized with “Best of Show in 2D” for his unique print of a grape leaf at the Shafer Art Gallery juried student exhibit, which will be available for the public’s viewing until April 22.

“When I broke my neck, I didn’t touch art for a long time,” he said. “Barton was extremely helpful in setting up special adaptive equipment for me.”

Mckown picked up the hobby five years ago, when it was mentioned to him in passing that Barton might be able to accommodate his needs in a computer graphics class. Using his mouth to draw on a tablet, Mckown is once again able to express himself artistically. Now he is a familiar face on campus and a regular to the Shafer Gallery opening receptions.

Professional watercolorist from Kansas State University, Jim Rigg, served as the judge, and provided artists feedback on their work as he explained why he chose each winner.

Overall, Rigg said he was impressed the students’ talent, and was pleased with the wide spectrum of techniques employed.

“They have a nice eclectic range of work,” he said. “There was good variety, and a lot of approaches. It was challenging to judge, as there were long-practicing artists and some who were just starting out. I enjoyed it, and I kept an open mind because I didn’t know what to expect, but the staff ought to be commended for their efforts in helping their students.”

The 3D Best-in-Show winner was Kay Bitter for her ceramic sculpture titled, “The Guardian.”

Other winners of the various categories are as follows:

Degree-seeking acrylic & oil painting

First: Gonzalo Gelso, “Bob Marley”

Second: Macy Stambaugh, “Blueberry Waffle House”

Third: Crystal Waymaster, “Twisty Turns”

Honorable mention: Kite Marge, “Rose”

Non-degree seeking acrylic & oil painting

First: Barbara Hoar, “Study in Red and Orange

Second: Herbert Harms, “Bird of Paradise”

Third: Vicki Richardson, “Blue Frog”

Honorable mention: Billie Bonomo, “Red Cedars in the wind”

Degree-seeking watercolor painting

First: Kaitlin Ptacek, “The Gorgeous Galapagos Gander”

Second: Kaitlin Ptacek, “My Toucan Sam”

Third: Deborah Clothier, “Prowling Tiger”

Non-degree-seeking watercolor painting

First: Diane Engle, “Promising a New Beginning”

Second: Celia Wells, “Just Another Day”

Third: Donna Holl, “Purple Magic”

Degree-seeking pastel & charcoal

First: Catherine Nelson, “Mr. and Mrs. Seablob”

Second: Aimee Dreiling, “Split Emotion”

Third: Amanda Preeo, “Black and White”

Non-degree-seeking pastel & charcoal

First: Johnita Becker, “Barbara’s Garden”

Second: Jim Fitzsimmons, “Watercolor portrait copied in pastel”

Third: Becky Miller, “Set Music Free”

Honorable Mention: Leona Kasselman, Untitled

Degree-seeking photography/graphics/digital

First: Julie Huntwork, “Beyond the Looking Glass”

Second: Sarah Hales, “Turtle Love”

Third: Aimee Dreiling, “Pose!”

Non-degree-seeking photography/graphics/digital

First: Dale Shaner, “Sun Clowe”

Second: Karole Erikson, “The Last Cattle Drive”

Third: Karole Erikson, “Truck and Battle”

Honorable mention: Ronald Engleman, “Buckskinner”

Degree-seeking ceramics

First: Sara Schmitt, “Witness Vase”

Second: Cathrine Nelson, “Siamese Dragon”

Third: Deborah Clothier, “Lighthouse Slab Vase”

Honorable mention: Alexandra Brown, “A Glimmer of Peace”

Non-degree-seeking ceramics

First: Kathy Desemo, “Green Vase”

Second: Esther Maher, “Lily Vase”

Third: Kay Bitter, “Elements”

Honorable mention: Don Crouse, “Fire Orchid”

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