SIKESTON -- Over 130 works of art -- ranging from charcoal portraits to batiks to mosaics -- by local high school students are on display at the Sikeston Depot as part of the 32nd Annual Bootheel Regional High School Student Art Show.
Twenty-seven schools were invited to submit artwork, and the Depot received pieces from eight different high schools: Notre Dame, Saxony Lutheran, Sikeston, Poplar Bluff, New Madrid County Central, Oran, Advance and Dexter high schools.
"Each year we are amazed by the talent. We get fresh new talent every year," said Marilyn Schwaninger, chair of the show.
A public reception will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at the Depot. Winners will be honored at 2 p.m., and the annual Bootheel Regional Art Guild art scholarship will be awarded to a local student who plans to major or minor in art.
"This has always been a wonderful event," Schwaninger said.
Each school was represented with winners this year with Dexter being the biggest winner, Schwaninger said. Students submitted 20 pieces with 14 of those placing in the competition, she noted.
Clint Twaddell, art teacher at Dexter High School, said for the past several years, Dexter has had a really strong art department.
"I have very high standards for them," Twaddell said, adding he attributes the school's success to students' hard work.
Twaddell said he tells his students artists shouldn't have to explain their work.
"I tell my students to let their work speak for themselves. It's not your job to explain your work," Twaddell said. "Your first job is you want to get the person to stop and look. Your second job is to get them to keep looking, and if they keep walking, you haven't done your job."
Twaddell said when his students submit pieces to shows, they always try to send a wide variety of work for judging.
Included in the 14 placings by Dexter High School is the Best of Show winner, senior Shawna Beasley.
"Shawna is very organic-minded, free flowing, Twaddell said about his student.
Beasley's piece, "Repeat," is a collage of portraits created with black and white charcoal.
"For that assignment they were given odd things they could work on and could design a piece as they wanted. It could be three-dimensional or two-
dimensional, whatever they wanted," Twaddell said.
Beasley, who received ribbons for other pieces, said she was delightfully surprised when she learned she'd won Best of Show. While she's placed first and second in her four years of competing in the show, this is the first time she received Best of Show.
All of the schools displayed wonderful works of art, Schwaninger said. "Oran High School entered several fabric batik art, and they are outstanding. The batiks are large and colorful," Schwaninger said.
Other types of artwork on display include paintings, sculptures, mosaics, ceramics and photography.
Competing in regional art shows also provides students a chance to view their peers' work.
"It's really cool to see what others schools are able to do, depending on their budget," Beasley said. "Our teacher is a quality teacher and he gives us different ways to work ... and we can experiment with everything within limits."
Meanwhile, Beasley commended the Depot's art show organizers.
"I have such a great love and respect for people who get those things together and put time into it," Beasley said. "Without people who want to do it, we'd never get to see how we measure up -- and competition helps."
The feeling is mutual.
"We're proud of local students for their work and would just like to thank the high schools and teachers for their involvement," Schwaninger said.
The students' artwork will be on display until May 4. The Depot is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.