A white dragon made of plastic forks and spoons.

A white dragon made of plastic forks and spoons.

A sketch of the Midwest landscape of fields and power lines.

A photograph titled, “Bug Freeway.”

All these works, along with dozens of others, were part of the 2013 McPherson County Student Art Exhibition and Scholarship Competition this week. The event, sponsored by the McPherson Arts Alliance, Inc., showcases the work of local middle and high school students.

Art will be on display from 10 to 4 p.m. today and from 1 to 4 p.m. Sunday. The 19 categories include painting, print making, 3D design, ceramics and mixed media.

Judges this year were Mary Werner and Mark Durfee. Werner is the director of visual arts at Newman University in Wichita, and Durfree is the art director at Derby Recreation Commission in Derby.

The two judges awarded first, second and third place ribbons within the various categories.

During a critique, the judges explained why certain works were picked over others. Werner stressed a range of lightest white to darkest black, appeal from close and far ranges, and an ability to make the work their own.

“Keep working, keep trying, keep innovating,” she said.

Werner and Durfee also judged portfolios of area seniors who plan to study art during their post-secondary education. Three seniors received scholarships.

First place was Naomi Shultz of Smoky Valley High School. Werner said her work ranged in style, but were carried out successfully. In addition, Shultz’ pieces were unlike art they tend to see in similar shows.

The piece awarded best of show for Shultz depicted a waterway from Venice, Italy. Shultz said she used a photograph and recreated the scene by painting paper, ripping it, and piecing it back together.

“I don’t create work simply to create, but to make sense of and to share with others my visual interpretation in this world,” she said in a displayed artist statement. “Experimentation is, besides creating itself, my favorite aspect of art. It provides me endless avenues to depict my emotions in ways words or movement cannot.

Other placements in the senior show were: Monica Ewy of Moundridge, second place; Brendon Blake of McPherson, third place; and Callie Jantzen of Moundridge, first alternate.

Funding for the 2013 exhibition and scholarship competition is provided in part by the McPherson County Community Foundation, the Norene Ketcherside Endowment for Fine Arts, Larry and Lorna Stroup of Overland Park (formerly of McPherson), and the McPherson Art Alliance, Inc.

Contact Jenae Pauls at jpauls@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow her on Twitter @PaulsSentinel