Annual High School Art Exhibition presents work of area art students

Monday, March 30, 2009
Natalie Metzger of Cape Girardeau Central High School discusses her entry that won Best in Show in the High School Art Exhibition on Sunday at the River Campus.

The 31st annual High School Art Exhibition opened to the public Sunday, showcasing artwork from a number of Southeast Missouri students.

Sponsored by the Southeast Missouri State University Art Department, the exhibition was started and coordinated by former Southeast art professor Edwin Smith. He ran it for 29 years, retiring in 2007.

"This is a celebration of the work done by not just area high school students, but by the teachers who help those students along the way," said professor Chris Wubbena, who teaches sculpture at Southeast. He took over responsibility of the exhibition two years ago. "We're dealing with entries from a whole range of schools. It's around 30, I believe."

Entries came from schools as far south as New Madrid, Mo., and as far west as Bunker, Mo. In seven categories — ceramics, drawing, fibers, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture — a single juror examined 143 accepted pieces from 263 entries.

"Our juror was Marylynne Bradley, a professor of art at Webster University," Wubbena said. "She's done lots of these and knows what to look for as far as skill, originality and use of material."

First-, second- and third-place winners, as well as honorable mentions, were selected in each category. Two additional awards, the Merit Award and Best in Show, were also presented, which included scholarships of $1,000 and $1,500, respectively.

This year's Merit Award winner was 18-year-old Ethan Graham of Bismark, Mo. Graham's sculpture was of a rooster made from pieces of grapevine he hot-glued and screwed together. He said the project took about 12 hours stretched out over two weeks.

"I'm going to school to be a veterinarian," Graham said. "But my mom wants me to keep making them and sell them in the lobby of the vet office."

Cape Girardeau Central High School senior Natalie Metzger, 19, won Best in Show with a print she called "Three-in-Me."

"I drew what I saw of myself looking into a mirror onto a piece of wood and made the print," Metzger said. "Then I cut into it a little, made another and so on."

She has been an art student since the seventh grade and is a printmaker and sculptor.

"I'm definitely going to go to SEMO to pursue them both," she said.

The High School Art Exhibition runs through April 22 at the Crisp Museum at Southeast's River Campus.

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