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Art event showcases local talent

12/8/2013

By MATTHEW KENWRIGHT

mkenwright@dailynews.net

Although some of their artistic visions could not be more different, artists demonstrated the same passion for their work Friday.

The 30th annual Five State Photography Exhibition at the Hays Art Center opened this weekend as part of the 2013 Winter Art Walk. Fourteen other sites throughout downtown Hays and Fort Hays State University offered a blend of art styles and music.

Brenda Meder, HAC's executive director, said the photography exhibition celebrated artists who turn taking snapshots into a meaningful endeavor.

"It's really about pushing the envelope a little bit," Meder said. "What about it is going to be unique? Because what we're doing here isn't collecting. It's not photojournalism. It's not portraiture. It's fine art photography."

Photographers from Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma and Colorado submitted approximately 450 pieces of work. The gallery chose 163 entries and placed them in nature, people and open categories.

The featured art used photography as a base medium. Submissions included traditional photos, digital images, pictures combined with paintings and one that collected Polaroid films with different exposures.

Photography's widespread use has been a catalyst for artistic experimentation. The genre challenges people to consider the art's concept and what they want to express.

"Everybody can connect with it because almost everybody takes photographs of some kind, and so it makes it really, really exciting to know it's so accessible to so many people," Meder said.

The HAC also featured a tribute to the late Jack Logan, a local photography enthusiast. Daniel W. Coburn, assistant professor of photo media at the University of Kansas, judged all the submissions and chose the winners in the three categories, who won cash prizes.

The Hays Public Library, Couture for Men & Women and Diamond R Jewelry were among the Art Walk's stops. Photography, paintings, sculptures and other genres made up the program's diverse entries.

Mary Ladd Dague, Victoria, had one unique style on display. Customers can arrange her "alphabet art" and spell out words with unconventional letters. For example, one can spell "mom" with three separate photos of arched lace curtains, a rose and three fingers on an infant's hand.

Amy, Terry, a junior at FHSU, said she uses mixed media in her creations. One of her works could include acrylic, watercolors, household paints, colored pencils and pen. She also included a table for "paper monsters," small laminated characters that can be used as fridge magnets and bookmarks.

"Everyone gets so serious during the Art Walk. I just wanted to do something fun, you know. Art's fun," Terry said.

Mason Eck, a senior at FHSU, attended the walk. Pictures of rural settings were his favorite entries.

"It's cool to get a little culture and look at what people have to offer around Hays, art-wise," Eck said.

The Five State Photography Exhibit will be on display until Jan. 23 at the arts center, 112 E. 11th.