The 52nd Annual Smoky Hill Art Exhibition opened on May 1 as the anchor of the Hays Arts Council 2021 Spring Art Walk.
The annual Smoky Hill Art Exhibition is a statewide juried fine art competitive open to any artist currently living in Kansas. Any original 2-D or 3-D works completed in the last 2 years (& not previously exhibited at the Hays Arts Center) are eligible.
This year, $2,950 in total cash prizes were awarded by juror Jay Nelson. The "Eugene "Skip' Harwick" cash award was provided by Kirsten Harwick Mills in honor of her father and the "John C Thorns" and "Byrnel Figler" awards was provided by Thorns' former student & Figler's long-time friend, Warren Taylor. Additional awards are made possible through the project support of our sponsors: Jeter Law Firm, Emprise Bank, and Northwestern Printers. Awards are noted with the artists and their works in the complete body of exhibition images that follow. A link to the 2021 entry info and juror's statement are also found below.
Tiffany Adams -Sterling
Brothers Joy Diptych - charcoal & digital rendering (20x24")
$100 Cash Award
After graduating from Wichita State University in 1965, “Skip” Harwick began teaching at Fort Hays State. Though primarily a painter in oils, he also created works in watercolor, intaglio, ink, and various three-dimensional media.
He had many interests and created an artificial marble from which he designed and fabricated jewelry pieces resembling jade or ivory. Skip continued his teaching career at Fort Hays until shortly before his death in 1981.
The HAC proudly hosted a retrospective of Skip’s work in the Fall of 2018. His daughter, Kirsten Harwick Mills, has provided for commemorative Smoky Hill Awards in her father’s memory. This year, "Swan Fan" by Gordon Sherman received the cash award in Skip's honor.
John C. Thorns, Jr. was a professor of art at Fort Hays State University from 1954 to 1990, becoming department chair in 1973. He was a founder and president of the Hays Arts Council and served on the Kansas Arts Commission’s visual arts advisory panel. He was also instrumental in the development of the celebrated Hadley Foundation Art Collection at Hays Medical Center, serving as the collection’s consultant until his death in 2014. John was also a prolific artist and garnered numerous awards for his work. FHSU’s Moss Thorns Gallery of Art bears his name and that of his predecessor Joel Moss.
Warren Taylor, a former student of Thorns now living in San Angelo, TX, provides this special annual award in his name. Thorn's award recipients this year were Wendy Tan (Seahorse Lady) and Stan Detrihe (Bonfire of the Banalities).
Byrnell W. Figler was a talented classic pianist, attending the Bavarian Music Academy in Munich, Germany on a Fulbright grant. After teaching throughout the country, he taught and performed at Fort Hays State University for 20 years. Byrnell was also a talented cook and a great wit who enjoyed intellectual repartee. Following his death in 2017, his long-time friend and artist, Warren Taylor, made a donation to honor him with awards in his memory.
As a lifetime member of the Sierra Club and the Nature Conservancy, he was passionate about the beauty and protection of the natural world and its resources. It is in respect of those interests that Doloris Pederson (The Sanctuary) and Becky Schneller (Nurture) received cash awards in his name for their paintings.
Kelsey Hoines, Manhattan
Fringing (oil on canvas, 48x72")
$200 John Thorns Landscape Award