(Jill Bock, Staff)
"That's because beauty is in the eye of the beholder," said Sikeston Depot Museum Director Mike Marsh.
Featuring 157 pieces of artwork representing 15 schools in Southeast Missouri, the show -- now in its 37th year -- opened Saturday at the Sikeston Depot Museum, 116 W. Malone Ave.
Having one person judge the annual show is the way it's always been, Marsh said. This year retired art teacher Jerry Grim, who worked for years at Notre Dame Regional High School, served as the show's judge.
When it comes to judging the art work, creativity is the main criteria he looks for, Grim said.
"I look and see how much work it took the kids to do whatever it is they happen to do, " Grim said.
Originality is also important, Grim said.
"There were some very good pieces in the show, and the kids displayed that," Grim said, adding some of the work looks very professional, too.
Schools represented in the show include Richland, Cape Central, Sikeston, Malden, Saxony Lutheran, East Prairie, Jackson, Oran, Notre Dame, Scott County Central, Poplar Bluff, New Madrid County Central, Bernie, Dexter and Kelly.
Displayed in three rooms at the Depot -- instead of the usual two rooms -- the art work is divided into nine categories: drawing, painting, mixed media, portrait, sculpture, ceramics, fibers, photography and printmaking/graphics.
First, second, third and honorable mention prizes will be awarded in all categories. A "Best in Show" and "People's Choice" will also be awarded.
Marsh said he's not surprised by the talent of local youth.
"I expect it. I really do. This is my sixth show and after the first couple years, I just expect great work and anticipate it -- and I'm always surprised by something," Marsh said.
What sets the show apart from others in the area, Marsh said, all of the student art work submitted is displayed.
"Some art shows ask participants to bring in 10 pieces and then select only two to display," Marsh noted. "We put them all up."
Grim said his former art students always submitted work in the regional show.
"We enjoy the show," Grim said. "It is the best in the area, and it's a good opportunity to let the kids display their talent."
Marsh encouraged other schools -- both elementary and secondary -- to bring their art students to view the work by local teenagers.
"... The way to become a better artist and get ideas is to come and see what other people are doing," Marsh said.
Both Marsh and Grim encouraged members of the community to view the work by some of the region's youngest artists.
"They need to come out and see what's going on in the art rooms in the high school, too," Grim said. "Recently, schools have dropped their fine arts programs. If they come out to those schools, they can see that -- here in Southeast Missouri -- art is very much alive."
The show, which is sponsored by Santie Oil, Montgomery Bank and the Missouri Arts Council, will run through Feb. 25 at the Museum. Hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
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