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ArtSpace to host Kewpee Art Invitational

Mar. 19—LIMA — The 36th Annual Kewpee High School Art Invitational will open with a reception at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, March 22 at ArtSpace/Lima at 65 Town Square.

Executive director of ArtSpace, Sally Windle said that the event will feature students from 20 schools in the area of Allen County and surrounding counties.

"We have over 400 entries because new schools have been added in the area so the judges have really spent a lot of time looking at everything," she said. "They've commented how great the work is and how the students are not only skilled, but the content and messages behind the work are really pronounced. A lot of people are doing great things but it's more than just a classroom exercise; it's getting into responding or synthesizing art."

Students created art in categories ranging from, but not limited to, ceramics and digital media to photography and sculpture for the exhibit that will run through April 12.

"It's always refreshing to see what students are working on because these are our next generation artists," Windle said. "And when the work comes in, we look through it because art teachers have done the first jurying process to where they have chosen the 30 best pieces from their students. We get to see the possibilities and conference."

Windle said that something has changed since the pandemic, though.

"It's so deep now because students are imagining what they want to say through a process," she said. "They set up voices behind the pencil or the painting or the photography. We're seeing a lot deeper meanings coming through, but also some great techniques and things that they have been working on because the quality is so good."

The students are being rewarded for that quality with a show worthy of professional artists.

"We do the show like we do with other artists who are either nationally, internationally or regionally known," Windle said. "Other shows with a great number may have a limited space and thankfully we can take the word and spread it out in the whole building, but also take the time to honor each piece and what it presents."

Scheduling the show, which is underwritten by Kewpee, around other important exhibits takes a lot of work, but Windle said it is worth it as long as the audience takes away the right things from the night.

"Knowledge from the next generation of artists is so powerful and strong," she said. "As we look at pieces and make instant judgments, quality is important, but when you find out the message behind it, it's even more so. We're hoping to not only give students that avenue of an incentive, but to also honor the voice and I think that works for ArtSpace because we get to work and see these great things and it's so powerful to know where students are."

For more information about the exhibit and opening reception, visit the ArtSpace website.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.