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Art students enter the Vortex
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High school students participate in a drawing workshop led by Barton Community College art instructor Scott Arthur, Wednesday at the college. The 2019 Vortex Day brought 120 students from six area high schools.

Art students from six area high schools visited Barton Community College on Wednesday for Vortex Day. Approximately 120 students took part in campus tours and workshops in ceramics, drawing, photography and movement.

David Barnes, executive director of Barton’s Shafer Art Gallery, said the Vortex High School Art Competition is a juried show of the students’ artwork and is on display through Saturday. The gallery is located in the Fine Arts Building on campus and is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

This year’s show was juried by Barton art teachers Bill Forst and Scott Arthur. Winners were announced Wednesday afternoon.

“It’s an exciting day,” Forst said. “We’re so glad that the Barton County Arts Council is underwriting it.” The competition was also underwritten by the Bill McKown Endowment through the Golden Belt Community Foundation.

Vortex Day included dance instructor Danika Bielek’s movement workshop, which had students working in groups to create living sculptures representing dynamic body action.

Arthur, who teaches painting, drawing, photography and graphic design, explained the basics of gesture drawing and had students create multiple sketches that will later become a collaborative animation.

Chelsea Mitchell, Barton’s marketing strategist, also owns the photography studio located at Forest and Main in Great Bend. She led a photography workshop that had students learning about lighting and aperture so they could create stop-action and motion blur effects. After watching the workshop, Darlene Behnke, an instructor at St. John-Hudson USD 350, asked her students if they wanted to try to duplicate the project.

“Do I have the equipment in my classroom so we could set this up?” Behnke asked. The students thought she did.

Forst’s ceramics workshop had students working with bits of broken tile to illustrate a figure in motion.

“We’re not making an object today,” Forst said. “We’re working with ideas and thoughts. The artwork is really the thought and action; all that’s left is the documentation.”

Schools represented were Great Bend, Ellinwood, Hoisington, Central Plains, Larned and St. John.