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Barton students to exhibit work at Shafer Art Gallery
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Painting by Kaycee Niermeier of Hoxie - photo by Photos courtesy of BCC

Barton Community College art students will line the walls of the Shafer Art Gallery with their work during the “Barton Student Art Exhibit” juried art show from May 9 through June 8.  The reception will be Friday, May 9 from 6-8 p.m.
“For me, the Barton student exhibit and awards reception is the highlight of the academic year,” Shafer Art Gallery Director Dave Barnes said of the show.  “It is a great opportunity to see the quality of work being produced in the Barton art classrooms and to honor our student artists for their hard work and achievement.  I am always impressed by the professionalism of our students. The awards reception is always a very exciting event. There is a great deal of anticipation leading up to the announcement of the awards.”
The show will be judged by Artist Michael Jilg.  He started painting in the 1960s and spent most of his adult life teaching art for 30 years at Fort Hays State University.  Jilg is now retired, and spends his time focusing on creating, but he also has free time, which allowed him the flexibility to act as the judge for the exhibit.  
Jilg has judged many art shows throughout his life, and he always looks for certain things when he examines a piece of art.
“They need to make sure it’s clean and neat,” he said.  “I look at the concept and idea, execution, how well it’s done and I really look at presentation, framing and matting.  Sloppy craftsmanship is easy to reject.”
Jilg said he has a love-hate relationship with judging.
“I enjoy seeing the new work,” he said.  “It helps me stay relevant seeing what’s out there, but you’re dealing with people’s emotions and lives so I dislike rejecting people’s creativity.”
The seasoned art veteran urges people not to take the judging process personally.
“I always tell people, ‘It’s just one person’s opinion on one day of their life,’” he said. “If I judged the same show three or four times it might turn out different.  “Artists should just always strive to make it look professional and craftsmanship is incredibly important.  You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
Jilg said college student artwork is an interesting thing to judge.
“College students don’t have a lot of experience, so sometimes they see things differently than someone who has studied art for 50 years like I have,” he said.  “They are not encumbered as much by the history of art, which can be really interesting sometimes.  I will see things that I’m not used to because I’m so used to tradition.”
The exhibit will be dedicated to the memory of longtime Barton art student and local resident Bill McKown who passed away in April.
“Bill was a friend of the gallery,” Barnes said.  “Despite being wheelchair bound, he took art classes for many years at Barton and supported the Gallery with his regular attendance at all functions that he was physically able to attend.  A couple of years ago his graphic design work was awarded best in show at the Barton Student Exhibition.”
The Shafer Art Gallery is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 1-4 p.m. on Sundays.  Admission is always free.