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Watching Young Artists Grow - 2020
Virtual art exhibit celebrates young artists
negaard color wheel
Siblings Samantha and Everett Negaard, students at Jefferson Elementary, proudly display the results of the week-one challenge of creating an at-home color wheel.

Among the list of milestones and special moments altered by the current health crisis in America is the “Watching Young Artists Grow” art show previously scheduled for April at the Barton County Historical Village. While the live event had to be canceled, Elementary Art Teachers Shannon Wedel and Miraya Starnes have worked tirelessly to create a virtual art show for students, families, and the community to enjoy. 

“The show features some of the very best work created by our students throughout the year,” said Wedel. “The show is sponsored by the Barton County Arts Council and it’s such an important event that students look forward to all year.”

The virtual art show features 500 works by students in grades K-8 that would have been featured at the live event. 

An example of students’ excitement for the process of creating art and displaying their finished work for others to see, Wedel shared that one student asked her about the show on the first day of school.

“While we can’t replicate the cookies and punch provided by the Barton County Arts Council (at the opening reception), we hope the virtual show is a treat that students can share with their loved ones, near and far,” said Wedel. 

A link to the virtual art show is available at  

Arts Education Continues

The Elementary Art Education duo, Wedel and Starnes, continue to inspire and encourage young artists through USD 428’s Continuous Learning Plan launched last week. Along with academic packets picked up at elementary schools, K-6 grade students received an art kit containing handouts and basic supplies for art projects they can complete at home. 

“We want every student, regardless of what materials they have at home, to be able to create,” said Wedel. “Creating with your hands, whether it turns out great or terrible, is a very fulfilling and therapeutic activity.

“Artists around the world, including authors, illustrators, performers, and more, have stepped up in inspiring ways to offer their ‘art’ to people of all ages in this time of need. This shows how important the arts are to all of us, and how moments like this make us realize how much we take the beauty of art for granted.” 

In addition to hosting the virtual “Watching Young Artists Grow” art show, the elementary art website includes a weekly art challenge from Wedel and Starnes as well as resources for families such as links to virtual museum tours and art tutorials. 

The community is invited to enjoy the virtual art show as well as the resources available on the USD 428 Elementary Art website.

Visit For more information, contact the USD 428 District Office by telephone, 620-793-1500. 

Note: Art from GBMS has not yet been uploaded to the website. It will be available to view after Friday, April 10.