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Artists recognized at 34th annual Art Show

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HIGH SCHOOL: Best of Show winners for the high school division are, from left,Odalis Campos (third), Hayley Wills (first) andAlma Garcia Chavez(second).
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ON DISPLAY: Tina Stock looks at some of the work of high school photographers during Monday's reception and awards presentation for the 34th Psi Iota Xi Art Show at the Hubbard Gallery.
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BEST OF SHOW: Frankfort High School senior Haley Wills won Best of Show for her colored pencil work, "Scrunch Face." Wills also took first place in mixed media and chalk pastel, as well as second place in carved sculpture.
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MIDDLE SCHOOL: Winning Best of Show in the middle school division were, from left, Lily Sheridan (second), Alex Lopez (first) and Evelyn Garcia (third).

By AARON KENNEDY - akennedy@ftimes.com

An impressive array of art was on display as local students were recognized for their talents during a reception for the 34th annual Psi Iota Xi Art Show on Monday in the Hubbard Gallery at the Frankfort Community Public Library.

Psi Iota Xi is a national philanthropic sorority that focuses mainly on speech, hearing, art, music and literature. Locally, the Beta Tau chapter organizes this show of artists from the county's middle schools and high schools.

“Their art teachers encourage them to participate,” Beta Tau president Alison Robinson said. “For the high school we have about 200 entries, and we have about 50 entries for the middle school, so we have pretty good participation.

“We are always kind of amazed at the talent that comes in,” she added. “For high school and middle school students, it is kind of mind-blowing some of the talent that comes in. Of course, every year they have different projects and different things they work on, so we always see a good variety. There are several categories that they can enter.”

First-, second- and third-place Best of Show winners for both the high school and middle school divisions receive a check from the organization.

“It is a good opportunity for kids who are not involved in sports to showcase their talents that otherwise would not be recognized because there is such an emphasis on sports,” Robinson said. “It is good to have an outlet for creativity as well.”

Winning Best of Show for the high school division was Frankfort senior Hayley Wills for her colored-pencil first-place-winning work, “Scrunch Face.” Wills also took first place in mixed media and chalk pastel, as well as second place in carved sculpture.

“It was very surprising,” she said. “I wasn't expecting it, actually.”

Wills, who wants to study elementary art education in college, has submitted artwork to the exhibit in each of her four years in high school, winning first place in the pencil category last year and second in chalk pastel before that.

Taking second-place Best of Show in the high school division was Alma Garcia Chavez for her first-place-winning photography, and Odalis Campos took third-place Best of Show for her winning carved sculpture.

In the middle school division, Alex Lopez earned first place Best of Show for his winning submission in the pencil category while Lily Sheridan was second place Best of Show for her pen and ink, and Evelyn Garcia was third place Best of Show for her water media.

Community Schools of Frankfort Superintendent Don DeWeese was one of the many people who packed the gallery to see the exhibit, and he was impressed by what he saw.

“When you look at the art without looking at the names, you just know that we have a lot of very talented young people,” DeWeese said. “And it is so much fun right now to see parents, friends, grandmas and grandpas accompanying these young artists and showing off the work.

“As for the Community Schools of Frankfort, I am just so amazed when I see the amount and the level of artistic ability that has been brought out in our students,” he added. “So, we are very thankful to this chapter for doing this annually because it gives our students that opportunity to showcase their work.”

Intermixed with the artists' family members and friends were a few proud art teachers.

“It was super exciting,” said Becky Cesare, an art teacher at FHS. “It is just a wonderful night to celebrate what the kids worked so hard through the year doing. It is kind of like icing on the cake. There is a lot of pride, for sure. It is a lot of fun to see the students bring their parents and their friends. It was great to see so many come and support the arts and what it means to us.”

The exhibit will remain in the Hubbard Gallery on the second floor of the Frankfort Community Public Library through April 29.

“I love this exhibit,” said Brenda Buckingham-Ehrmann, an art teacher at Frankfort Middle School. “I have opportunities to send students' work to Lafayette or to Indianapolis, but I love that there is an opportunity for my students' artwork to be exhibited in their own community. I see way more families coming through to see their work here. What Psi Iota Xi does for the community with this show is really wonderful – especially for the kids to be able to bring their families here and be able to say their artwork is in a professional gallery.”