Lee's Summit Journal

Lee’s Summit Art Fest gathers artists from around the country — plus creative students

Students from Pleasant Lea Middle School participated in the 2018 Stuck on Art live-creation event. The 2019 Stuck on Art competition for middle school and high school students will start at 9 a.m. Oct. 12
Students from Pleasant Lea Middle School participated in the 2018 Stuck on Art live-creation event. The 2019 Stuck on Art competition for middle school and high school students will start at 9 a.m. Oct. 12

Wayne Gao and Michelle Chang make art together. The husband and wife team won Best of Show in the 2018 Summit Art Festival. They will come back this week as featured artists for the 2019 event.

The 12th Annual Summit Art Festival fine art juried show takes place Oct. 11 to 13 in the Lee’s Summit downtown entertainment district. The show features more than 100 professional artists from across the country.

It also provides an opportunity for art students at Lee’s Summit middle and high schools the chance to show their own art and participate in a live art-creation event.

Gao and Chang are ceramic artists. They use a self-created blend of glazes and traditional Chinese brush techniques to create colorful tile designs.

They show and sell their work at fine-art shows throughout the country. Gao and Chang do not have a website or allow photos of their work because they like to have the personal experience of interacting with people who buy their art. That means the curious will have to take a trip to the Summit Art Festival to view the colorful creations.

Summit Art Festival Director Jody Fristoe says the tile art is worth the drive.

“Their technique is really special and really unique in how they create their own glazes and do 3D art on furniture and wall hangings,” Fristoe said.

A student art pavilion tent will feature more than 250 works of art from Lee’s Summit School District students. For the first time, the collection will include student work from Summit Christian Academy.

“This is a really unique and awesome experience for these kids. It gives these students an opportunity to know what it feels like to be a professional artist, as if they were in a professional show,” Fristoe said.

A live-art creation event is scheduled for Saturday morning Oct. 12. Teams of four to six artists representing each of the Lee’s Summit district middle and high schools will be given a 4-by-8-foot canvass on which to create a themed piece of artwork using only black masking tape and cutting tools. This year’s theme for this portion of the event, which is called “Stuck on Art,” is POP Art.

“The students are deriving their theme from anything in popular culture. I can’t wait to see what they come up with,” Fristoe said.

The festival is run by the non-profit organization Summit Art, which has a membership of 105 local visual artists. The group offers professional development and mentoring for artists, including seminars and professional speakers at monthly meetings. Members of the group also display work in St. Luke’s East Hospital.

Barbara Todd is the current president of Summit Art. As an oil painter, she has sold art professionally for 40 years. She participates with the group because it puts her with like-minded people.

Todd says she enjoys “being with a group of people who think like you do and have fun. Art to me is because of the beauty people can create and share with the world.”

While several members of Summit Art will have art on display at the Summit Art Festival, many of the artists on display are from across the country. Gao and Chang will come from California.

The group operated Got Art, a gallery in downtown Lee’s Summit until last summer. Todd says, the group closed the gallery because it was no longer financially feasible.

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