NEWTON — “Kansas Through The Eyes Of An Artist," the first annual juried art exhibit at Carriage Factory Art Gallery, opens with an awards ceremony at 7 p.m. Jan. 13 in the gallery at 128 E. Sixth St. in Newton.

The competition brought in 127 entries from 50 artists, who were given the theme of “Kansas," in honor of Kansas Day on Jan. 29.

Kathy Waltner of Moundridge selected the paintings she submitted to the competition by keeping that theme in mind.

"I had to think ‘Kansas’ — what would be Kansas," Waltner said.

Two of Waltner's paintings were chosen for the exhibit, including one of pelicans she saw while canoeing on the Marion Reservoir.

"A lot of my pictures of wildlife are from the canoe," Waltner said.

Waltner's other painting, titled "Sunflower Girl," was based off of a photograph she took of her granddaughter.

"In the picture, she was holding a dandelion, but I knew this was coming up and I said, 'what if I make that a sunflower,'" Waltner said.

A painting by Peggy Wambold selected for the exhibit also features the Kansas state flower.

"I love sunflowers," Wambold said.

Jan Schoen's painting of a fall scene in western Kansas was also selected for the exhibit.

"I do mostly Kansas landscapes," Schoen said. "I think Kansas is a pretty state."

Also chosen for the exhibit is an acrylic painting of sunflowers on a black and white checkered cloth by Mary Johnson.

"Flowers and vases is what I usually do," Johnson said.

Johnson said she was not only pleased to have her artwork chosen for the exhibit, she also relishes the chance to have it hung besides pieces from other artists she admires.

Artists were allowed to submit up to three entries each in any medium they chose.

Mary Lee McDonald, assistant director of the gallery, noted though most of the entries were paintings, the exhibit will include oils, watercolors, acrylics, photography and mixed media.

Beth Vannatta, an artist from Halstead, served as juror for the competition and selected 50 pieces of art from 34 artists for the show.

"I was rather impressed by them," Vannatta said. "As a total, I felt there was quite a quality there."

Marsha Howe, who has an extensive background in art and has been director of the Red Barn Studio in Lindsborg since 2001, served as the competition judge.

Prizes totaling $650 were donated by local businesses and individuals including Graber Hardware Inc., Knudsen, Monroe & Company, Steve Shields, Susan Koehn and Rebecca Ryan. The first place winner will be awarded $300, with $200 for second place, $100 for third place and $50 for honorable mention.

Winners of the juried competition will be announced during the opening event, which also will feature musical entertainment by pianist Bob Wambold. Refreshments will be provided. The show will remain on exhibit through March 2. Works featured in the exhibit will be available for purchase.

Carriage Factory Art Gallery is open from noon to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

For more information about "Kansas Through the Eyes of an Artist" and Carriage Factory Art Gallery, call 316-284-2749 or visit http://www.carriagefactoryartgallery.com.

Contact Patricia Middleton by email at pmiddleton@mcphersonsentinel.com or follow her stories on Twitter at @MacSentinel.