The art exhibition opening in the Eastern New Mexico University Golden Library’s Runnels Gallery today is a collection of work from local student artists ranging from kindergarten to seniors in college.
“We’re not looking at technical ability,” said Dawn Wolf-Taylor, the event’s co-chair and a board member for the Portales Arts Council. “We’re looking for artistic spirit, so a kindergartner really does have every much an opportunity to win as an ENMU student.”
Wolf-Taylor said art will be judged on how much it communicates not just what it is but what it is trying to say.
Wolf-Taylor said the idea behind the exhibit is to show students what it’s like to be a professional artist and be able to display and sell their work. She said by having their artwork displayed and sold, students are encouraged to continue practicing their art.
“I’m a big fan and collector of student art,” Wolf-Taylor said. “Some of these students are going to be unbelievably thrilled because their art sells. It will be a really big deal for them to be taken seriously as an artist. The younger you can do that and show students this is a life path, the more likely it is that they may be successful as an artist.”
Fifteen submissions were allowed from each grade level. The Portales Arts Council chose three from each grade to be displayed in the gallery and be judged for one of the three prize slots.
J. Kline, dean of the College of Fine Arts at ENMU, and Chris Taylor, dean of the College of Business and president of the arts council, will judge which artists will win the three cash prizes.
“Doing it for the second year, proves what we know,” Kline said. “That technique may vary from artist to artist, from age to age, but the wonder of discovery and the genius of expression has no boundaries.”
“I am thrilled to see the diversity of works,” Taylor added. “I look forward to each year to see more numerous entries.”
Third grade student Jonathan Pena and fourth grade student Karen Morrales of Valencia Elementary both said they were nervous about the idea of entering a contest with much older students but were excited at the prospect of winning.
“I said to myself, I’m really good at drawing, so I might have a chance,” Pena said. “I’ll be excited if I win.”
“My mom and dad said my picture was pretty and some of my friends said I could win cause it was pretty,” Morrales said.
Kim Butler, the two children’s art teacher, said she was proud to see the work her students put forth.
“I’m proud of these kids,” Butler said. “They could be number one as far as I’m concerned.”
The art competition is in its second year and will be on display in the gallery today through March 22. A sidewalk chalk competition is set to follow on April 30.