Whether your definition of art is a colorful painting or a carefully shaped ceramic bowl, the Summit Art Festival had attendees covered. The festival, now in its 12th year, took over a few downtown Lee’s Summit streets to offer works from a variety of media, from wood to fiber to everything between.
The juried show, held Oct. 11 to 13, included a $1,000 prize for Michael Steddum of Webb City, who won best in show. Second and third prizes of $750 and $500 went to Jeff Easley of Parnell, Iowa, and Karen Kane and Kevin Oelklaus of Oak Grove. As part of his award, Steddum will be the featured artist at next year’s festival.
The mayor’s award, a $200 prize, went to Jim Clements of El Dorado; Jim and Julie Vermeer of Humboldt, Iowa, received the $150 director’s award. The three $100 juror’s merit awards went to James Pettijohn of Kansas City, Brad Ultican of Blue Springs and Haley Sellmeyer of Olathe.
Participants included 110 artists from both the metro area and all over the country. Because the festival is a competitive show for professional artists, there is a rigorous screening process for applicants.
“It’s a juried art show, rather than a craft fair,” said artist Jessie Roggenbach of Blue Springs.
Roggenbach shared a booth with fellow fused glass artist Mary Peterson of Peculiar.
“We love what we do,” Peterson said.
Artist Ken Nelsen of Maryville, whose booth featured wood-turned bowls, said he appreciated the way the festival was organized.
“It’s really nicely laid out. The quality of the work is really consistent,” he said.
Numerous artists also said they appreciated the way that organizers treated them and that the festival provides help in the form of snacks and other perks to make the weekend go more smoothly.
In addition to showcasing professional artists, the festival makes time for student artists in a couple of different ways. Students from the Lee’s Summit School District and Summit Christian Academy entered their work to be judged in a separate category.
“We give these students an experience of what it feels like to be a professional artist and have your work judged,” said Jody Fristoe, director of the festival.
The festival received more than 250 entries from students.
“These kids have talent. Their art teacher did a good job of mixing different mediums and techniques,” said Michelle Seichepine, a Spring Hill art teacher who helped judge the student entries. “There are some I would take home and hang on the wall at my house. Even putting ribbons on them, I feel pride.”
Visitors were also impressed at the standard of the students’ work.
“There’s a lot of conceptual art for high school kids. They’re kind of killing it. It’s kind of incredible,” said Brandi Stangle of Kansas City.
Saturday morning featured the other key component of the festival’s student activities: Stuck on Art. Teams of high school and middle school students created artworks in a timed competition using white vinyl banners, black masking tape and some cutting tools.
This year’s theme was pop art.
“For our festival, we have larger banners printed up that we place all around the community,” Fristoe said. “Someone years ago thought, ‘How can we recycle, repurpose these banners?’”
The winning teams were Pleasant Lea Middle School and Lee’s Summit West High School.