LOGAN — The gallery walls of the Dane G. Hansen Museum typically are adorned with the work of professional artists from around the globe.
But until March 18, northwest Kansas students from six high schools have been given the chance to publicly share their creations. Participating schools are Trego Community, Norton, Hill City, Phillipsburg, Thomas More Prep-Marian and Smith Center.
“I do feel like it’s a good opportunity for their work to be shown in a museum setting, which is something even professional artists don’t always get,” said Julie Peterson-Shea, art teacher at Phillipsburg High School and Middle School. “And it’s highlighting or showcasing local talent. And a lot of the people in the area do go and see that. It’s a wonderful thing to promote high school art and our area.”
Approximately 300 pieces — ranging from acrylic paintings to sketches, sculptures and woodwork — are included in the museum’s 41st annual high school art show. The show began in 1976 as a way to feature student talent and hopefully spark an interest in fine arts that could last a lifetime, said museum director Shari Buss.
The high school classes also are invited to help hang and display their work as museum staff sets up the show.
“The goal is to inspire them to reach for the stars,” Buss said. “We have professional artists who try very much to get here to hang and show their work. We’re giving them this opportunity to hang their art on the same walls that professional art has just come off of.”
The show is not a competition, though participating high school art teachers are tasked with selecting a limited number of pieces to showcase. With six participating schools this year, the limit was 50 pieces of art per school.
High school teachers also were invited to display their work this year, resulting in several paintings and sculptures on display just inside the front entrance.
The exhibit as a whole provides a burst of color and showcases a wide variety of artistic methods and personal styles. There’s a painted lawn chair a student made of wood and a sculpture made of crayons.
Paintings include colorful acrylics, monotone pencil sketches and several pointillism pieces made of thousands of tiny specks of color. There are even a few weavings and metal sculptures mixed throughout.
“Each year, it gets more amazing,” Buss said. “It seems like the skillsets of the students just really have exploded over the years.
“There’s some really amazing work. I think it’s a little bit of an opportunity to look inside these kids, too, and see what’s important to them. They’re inviting us in, and I appreciate that as well.”