CAPE GIRARDEAU - "Exhibiting Excellence," the 24th annual High School Art Symposium, opens its exhibit at Southeast Missouri State University today featuring the very best pieces produced in area schools.
"It's real big deal," said Linda Melkersman, art teacher at New Madrid County Central High School. "Nearly 800 artworks were submitted." Of those, only 112 were selected to be shown in the exhibit.
Among the 112 pieces of art created by 10th, 11th and 12th graders going on display is "Upside Pinball Machine," a sculpture by one of Melkersman's students, Derek Lloyds, which is also featured on the symposium poster.
Melkersman said the title perfectly describes the "assemblage" sculpture formed from little pieces of wood. Lloyds won second place last year as a junior using the same technique, she added.
Sikeston and Thomas W. Kelly senior high schools were also among the 29 schools in Southeast Missouri which submitted art. "Sikeston is always well represented," said Melkersman.
Sikeston High School art students submitted a total of 90 pieces of which nine were selected to go on display.
"We have five in sculpture, one in ceramics, one in fibers, one in photography and one in printmaking," said Ginger Miller, art teacher at the Sikeston High School. "Just getting into the show itself is quite an honor so they're thrilled to death."
The fiber category includes "anything that is made of woven-together pieces," Miller said. "The fibers category usually doesn't have as many pieces submitted as drawing and painting, which have the most artwork submitted."
It can be one of the most interesting categories, however. "They can be real creative with the different types of things that are possible," said Miller.
Miller said her students submitted sculptures in a variety of mediums including concrete and vermiculite, plaster and bas-relief.
Also selected for display in the sculpture category is a piece by Chris Moore of Kelly High School.
A reception will be held today from 1-3 p.m. at the museum for the artists.
Three winners in each of seven categories and a grand prize winner will be announced following a performance by the 14-piece New Madrid County Central High School Jazz Band from 1-2 p.m.
The categories are: drawing, ceramics, sculpture, painting, printmaking, fibers and photography. The show will be judged by Juror Sherri Talbert, a retired art teacher from House Springs, who also selected those to be displayed.
Two SEMO scholarships - one of which ranges from $1,000-$2,000 and the other between $200-$300 - will be awarded as well for the second year.
The exhibit will remain on display through February at Memorial Hall on the SEMO campus next door to Academic Hall, according to Melkesman. "This art show is going to be up all month," she said. "It would be nice for a lot of parents to go up there."
"It's really a neat experience for them to go through the whole process of creating the art and then having it displayed in public," said Miller.
Some information in this story was provided by the Southeast Missourian.