The Hays Arts Council’s winter artwalk is typically the smallest of the seasonal events, but Brenda Meder is hopeful the weather forecast will make this year’s event atypical.

The National Weather Service is predicting sunny skies and a high of nearly 60 for Friday.

“Because the weather is going to be amazing on Friday, I have a feeling it’s going to be a very popular night,” said Meder, director of the HAC.

“We’ve had great audiences when it’s been lousy, so I think it’s going to be great,” she said.

The 34th annual Five State Photography Exhibition will open Friday night at the Hays Arts Center, 112 E. 11th, and Meder said all five states are well-represented.

“We never get a huge amount of work outside of Kansas. We always get some, but we’ve got a growing segment of photographic artists, really top-notch ones, from in and around the Ardmore, Okla., area,” she said.

Lawrence is also an area that has a lot of entrants, Meder said, and some of those are among the prize winners each year. She expects a group of Lawrence photographers to come to town for the opening.

Meder said this year’s show represents a diverse array of work. Juror John Finch selected approximately 150 prints from more than 350 entries. A retired portrait photographer, he continues working as a fine arts photographer with an emphasis on wildlife images.

“He has unique and innovative ways, as any creative artist does, in the way he approaches his work,” Meder said.

“This show is as rich and diverse and multi-faceted as it's ever been. I was thrilled with the show he gave,” she said.

“I was truly impressed with the level of technical expertise demonstrated and the amazing aesthetic achievements presented. I appreciate the traditional realism and I was also intrigued and drawn to works of art that challenge my imagination and works that cause me to want to know more,” Finch said in his juror’s statement.

The HAC will host a reception for the photographers selected for the show, so the general public will not be allowed in until the artwalk’s 7 p.m. start.

“I hate to have people waste good artwalk time by just standing out there,” she said.

Several locations will open at 6 p.m., including Moss-Thorns Gallery of Art and the new Center for Applied Technology and Sculpture at Fort Hays State University.

New to the artwalk is the Niche, 707 Main.

“I used to look forward to gallery walks and always wanted to be part of one, so now that I have my own place, I’m so excited,” owner Emily Weigel said.

Visitors to the crafts and painting studio will be able to contribute to a community mural on a 4-by-6-foot canvas.

“Since this business is getting people involved and getting people to make things with their hands, I thought for our gallery walk what would be a great thing to do is involve people and let them make something,” she said.