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GBHS student Jun Rui Chen has art exhibit
new slt artist chen
Jun Rui Chen is shown with two of his watercolor paintings. His drawings and paintings can be seen this month at the Great Bend Public Library. - photo by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

Library resumes regular hours

The Great Bend Public Library, 1409 Williams St., is closed today, as it has been every Sunday during its summer schedule, and will be closed Monday for Labor Day.

The library will resume regular hours on Tuesday. Hours are noon to 9 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday; and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.






A trip to his native China provided Great Bend art student Jun Rui Chen with new material for his second exhibit at the Great Bend Public Library.

Chen, 15, is a sophomore at Great Bend High School, but his friends were raving about his artistic ability back when he attended Riley Elementary School. Last Friday, he and his parents joined local artist Bev Simonson to hang nearly two dozen of Chen’s drawings and watercolor paintings in the library’s Adult Education Room.

Simonson was introduced to Chen by Craig Haneke, a substitute teacher at Great Bend USD 428. For the last four years, she has taught his weekly art lessons.

"His classmates were really the beginning of all this," Haneke said. The students kept talking about Chen’s drawings.

His mother Airong Lin and his father Ang Chen run The Great Wall restaurant in Great Bend. Lin looked at some of Simonson’s work and agreed to allow her to teach their son. For four years, Chen has devoted two hours of every weekend to art lessons. Meanwhile, he has become an honor student and member of the tennis team at GBHS.

"He is a very diligent student with, I think, an amazing talent," Simonson said. "He loves the pencil and does beautiful work with it."

Simonson was so impressed with her student's drawings that she suggested his work for the library’s monthly art display over a year ago. Now that he’s added watercolor painting to his repertoire, Chen is ready for a new exhibit.

"Most artists will tell you that the watercolor can be pretty intimidating, but he seems to have an innate feel for how to handle it," Simonson said.

Chen used to look on the Internet for interesting photos and things to draw, but now Simonson is teaching him more about composition and finding his own subject matter. "Jun Rui took a trip back to China last year and came home with some wonderful photographs," she said. "Several of the pieces here come from those photographs."