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Morning Sun
  • Art students dressed to impress in paper

  • Word about the Pittsburg State University art department’s High School Art Day continues to spread, and this year’s event was bigger than ever.

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  • Word about the Pittsburg State University art department’s High School Art Day continues to spread, and this year’s event was bigger than ever.
    More than 300 high school art students from Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma traveled to campus Thursday morning to enter their work to be judged, compete in a self-portrait contest and turn their classmates into newspaper robot warriors. They also constructed robot warrior pets from items they brought with them. This year’s guest judge and presenter was PSU alumnus and internationally known fiber artist Margaret Roach-Wheeler.
    Rhona Shand, PSU art department chair, said the annual event started four years ago with just 34 students. From there it grew to 150 students in its second year, then 260 students last year. This year 320 students made the trip.
    “It’s gotten to be very competitive,” Shand said.
    And as teachers return with their classes, the event’s reputation grows.
    “I think the students enjoy coming, and each year it’s grown,” said faculty member Marjorie Schick, whose wearable art is internationally known and who organized this year’s event. “We have a lot classes return each year. The students enjoy it and we have a lot of good competitions for them. Everybody’s enthused about it.”
    Schick, who has pieces of her work included in permanent collections around the world, said she got the idea for the newspaper contest from similar projects she had given previous students in her craft and art education classes.
    “I like the idea of newspaper,” Schick said. “It’s not expensive and the students can do some fabulous things.”
    With so many activities on the table and surging participation numbers, faculty members can’t host the event on their own. Thus, they enlist the help of nearly 50 student volunteers.
    “They’ve worked hard and been cheerful about it,” Schick said.
    Girard High School art teacher Nicole Meyer-Foresman said her students were so excited about the event that they spent time after school for several weeks practicing for the robot contest.
    “They just could not get enough of it,” Meyer-Foresman said. “The wearable component was really exciting for them and they were really pumped about it. That’s what we want our kids to experience.”
    Victoria Still, a junior at Carthage High School in Carthage, Mo., also was excited about the robot contest.
    “It gets all the people in a group to collaborate,” Still said as her classmates helped her remove the costume after the judging event. “We got a lot of inspiration from Zena Warrior Princess. Our idea was just to have fun with it.”
    Still’s art teacher, Cheryl Church, said she brought her class after hearing about it from the principal.
    “It’s been a blast,” Church said. “They like the challenge of doing something different and putting it all together and helping it stay together.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Church said the event is also educational, and that her students have learned a lot about art.
    “They’re seeing other kids’ ideas and it gives them ideas,” Church said. “It inspires them and helps them be more creative.”
    Another of Church’s students, Katie Watson, chimed in agreement.
    “It shows us that if other kids our age can do this kind of work, we can do it, too,” Watson said.
    Juried competition results:
    Best In Show
    Sky Johnson, Prairie View
    2D Division
    First place
    Callie Spencer,  Chanute
    Second place
    Holly Schomaker, Iola
    Third place
    Amanda Montgomery, Augusta
    3D Division
    First place
    Rachael Haas, Carthage
    Second place
    Morgan Sewart, Girard
    Third place
    Jared Ficus, Chanute
    School Challenge
    Best In Show – Robot Warriors
    Osawatomie
    Individual 2D Challenge
    Best In Show — Self portrait
    Sam Brown, Augusta
    Individual 3D Challenge
    Best In Show — Robot Pets
    Cole Cramer, Erie
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