As is its tradition, the 2020 Smoky Hill Art Exhibition was to have opened the last Friday in April as the anchor of our Spring Art Walk. However, due to COVID-19, the 51st Annual Smoky Hill was delayed and was featured as our summer exhibition, running through August 14, 2020.
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, $2,700 in total cash prizes were awarded by juror Paul Allen. The "Eugene "Skip' Harwick" cash awards were provided by Kirsten Harwick Mills in honor of her father and the "John C Thorns Landscape" award was provided by Thorns' former student, Warren Taylor. Additional awards are made possible through the project support 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 the video gallery tours links. A link to the 2020 entry info and juror's statement are also found below.
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’s recipients were “Fortress” by Jee Hwang and “The Big Love Squash” by Tobias Flores
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 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.