Local teen artist, Ryan Jennings, earned the title “Best of the Best” for his entry of a painted ceramic sculpture in The Arc of Sedgwick County Art Show in Wichita.
Hillary Zwetzig, the organizer of the event for The Arc, a disability service provider in Wichita, traveled to McPherson to celebrate Ryan’s success with his family and staff members of MCDS, where Ryan is a client.
“Everyone who has seen the piece has been amazed,” commented Zwetzig. “It is really beautiful and impressive.”
According to Zwetzig, the event is in its first year and is open to any person with a disability in Kansas.
There were more than 300 entries in several categories including adult, youth, buddy and individual. Jennings’ sculpture took first place overall.
As a person with Cerebral Palsy, painting not only gives Jennings great physical therapy to help with the manipulation of his hands, but offers a way for him to release creative energy.
“Ryan just loves to do art,” explained his mother, Dawn. “We started back in 2003 just as a therapy for his hands. It gave him good practice by holding the brush and moving his hands as he paints, but it has really become a passion.”
Jennings has earned some notable success with his passion. Not only has he won this new title, but he has received several first place awards for painted sculptures and slumped glass pieces entered into the Kansas State Fair. He also donated a slumped glass bowl for a silent auction for Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, which raised nearly $700.
The sculpture Jennings entered into the Arc Art Show will be on display through the middle of August in Wichita at CityArts Art Gallery and then will be displayed in downtown Lindsborg, where Jennings and his family live.
MCDS provides services for individuals with disabilities in McPherson, Lindsborg and Newton.