Ask anyone who teaches art to children, and they’ll tell you their students learn about much more than sketching, sculpting or photography.
Tri-County Art League and Raymore Arts Commission united their collective energy to host the annual 2018 Student Art Contest Nov. 9 and 10 to illustrate that concept.. All involved say that art helps boost confidence, and builds skills in classes like math and science.
The contest, held at Centerview, showcased the work of more than 50 contestants, ages 5-18, from across the Raymore-Peculiar area.
“The arts contribute to the well-being of a community,” said Sandra Braga, TCAL president since 2016.
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“Often, the arts are the first thing cut in a community, and I’m so proud Raymore has pursued the arts and gotten the community involved. This city considers the arts an important part of living here and has made them a priority.”
The community can take a look at the winning entries, which will be be displayed in the Council Chamber gallery at City Hall through Jan. 4.
The 2018 contest accepted work in four categories: high school, middle school, elementary school and photography. Contest judges included Charles Wilson, renowned wildlife photographer, and Laura Richardson, who led the Ray-Pec High School art department for more than 20 years.
Focused on 2-D work, media used in this year’s contest entries ranged from pencil and watercolor, to photography and fiber art. Some of the media used were uniquely “hands-on.” Three of the contestants created dioramas using felted, dyed alpaca wool attained from a Harrisonville alpaca farm.
“Things like this are what make small communities like ours special,” Braga said. “Families take the time to work on projects like this with their children.”
TCAL and the Raymore Arts Commission have co-sponsored the Student Art Contest for the past four years. The partnership between the two groups has grown during this time, with both organizations dedicated to promoting and garnering support for the arts.
“This contest highlights the level of student talent in our community, as well as the commitment of the teachers who have the vision to get their students’ work out there,” said Harriet Lawrence, Raymore Arts Commission chairwoman.
“Art makes such a huge difference for young people, and what is does for their self-esteem is huge. Participating in a contest like this can make a difference in their lives and in their futures.”
Braga, a former art teacher for the Raytown School District, also understands the powerful impact the arts can have on all aspects of a student’s life and studies.
“The main reason I’m involved in TCAL, and this contest, is that I saw the difference that art made for my students in developing their creative and critical-thinking skills,” she said. “Children involved in arts do better in all other areas, such as math and science, because math and science are always used in art.”
Several of this year’s entries were submitted by students of Raymore-Peculiar East Middle School art teacher, Kris Palmer.
“The students get their artwork in front of others here,” Palmer said. “They’re so excited to share their creativity and be recognized for their personal expression.”
Alyssa Overman, one of Palmer’s students, participated in the contest this year for the first time. Overman also entered her very first painting, which she completed last spring.
“I’ve been making art since kindergarten,” she said. “It’s always a lot of fun and it makes me so happy.”
Another of Palmer’s students, Chloé Campbell, 13, entered a mixed-media work on paper titled “Mother Nature.” In order to create her visual statement about the environment, Campbell used a technique she developed by crushing dried tempera into small granules, which she then applied to her preliminary graphite drawing.
“When I made this painting, I was thinking about how (we are) ruining the Earth,” Campbell said. “What if Mother Nature turned it around on us?”
2018 Student Art Contest winners
Winner: Sophia Galoassi. Raymore-Peculiar High School for “Prairie Fire Museum”
Runner-up: Ankita Kapoor. Raymore-Peculiar South Middle School for “Antique Scale”
Winner: Regan Cerda. Eagle Glen Elementary for “Halloween House”
Runner-up: Chloee Cogan for “Peacock.” Cogan was also selected for the People’s Choice Award.
▪ Middle school
Winner: Lauren Carlisle. Raymore-Peculiar South Middle School for her untitled graphite portrait
Runner Up: Avery Kiehl. Raymore-Peculiar East Middle School for “Elephant”
▪ High school
Winner: Faith Swenson. Raymore-Peculiar High School for her untitled watercolor landscape
Runner-up: Bella Parris. Raymore-Peculiar High School for her untitled graphite pinecone study