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April Feature:  Annual Regional High School Competition

Ft. Madison Area Arts Association unveiled winners of the Annual High School Competition at the reception Saturday. Lee County Bank is the sponsor for this month's show. Viewing available all month long Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm. Lunch-Ala-Art on April 29th will feature one of the regional schools. FMAAA welcomes Cardinal Community School of Eldon, IA to the regional, taking the slot opened with the loss of Harmony. Dennis Tubbs of Carthage was the juror this year. Dennis is Bloodhound alumni, noting that he had Jim Knapp for art his freshman year. He graduated in 1964. He went on to attend Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He has taught art at St. Peter&Paul in Nauvoo for the last 6 years. He has seen many of his former students go on to excel at art at HTC.

This exhibition consists of Central Lee, Hamilton, Keokuk, Ft. Madison, Holy Trinity Catholic, and Eldon high schools, competing in the divisions of black and white drawing, color drawing , painting, mixed media, three-dimensional, ceramics, and photography. Ribbon winners were selected prior to the reception Saturday. Best of Show went to Claire Graham, 9th grade at Holy Trinity with “Light Yellow. She will receive $40 stipend as well as the win. Thanks to Jim Knapp for rewarding Best of Show winner for many years. Jerry Granaman, long-term photographer with FMAAA, has added a $25 stipend to first place Photography division winner to encourage participation in this newer division under the name of his parents, Ernie and Peggy Hobbs.

First place in black&white drawing division goes to Claire Graham of HTC as well for “Not a Pet”. Second place went to McKenzie Trout for “Gothic House” from Cardinal Community School. Keokuk High School sophomore takes third place with Zannah Olsen's “Jane AustinVanita”. Judge Dennis Tubbs comments, “People may wonder why I awarded so many honorable mentions in the black&white division. The lights and darks in the division were fantastic. There could have been plenty of first-third winners in the honorable mentions awarded. The ability to teach light to dark values is the toughest thing I face with my students. It speaks highly of the art educators from these schools.” Honorable Mention ribbons in black and white drawing went to the following students: Cameron Kempker, Kylee Newkirk, and Zina Johnston of FMHS; Seirra Mertans, Makayla Laughlin, and Elizabeth Steffensmeier of Central Lee; and Jared Knox of Keokuk.

Color Drawing division is for pastels and colored pencil works and has typically been a tough division.The case was no different this year. Haley Benson, 12th grade Keokuk, took first place ribbon with “Galations 5:1”. Sierra Merten of Central Lee scored second place with delicately rendered “Rose Garden”. Alesia Stanton of Cardinal Community School pulls third with “. The painting division was highly contested this year as well. Jonathon Specht, 12th grade Ft. Madison, reels in first place with an untitled watercolor. The juror mentioned this smaller piece could well have been missed; however, his own specialization in watercolors made him pause for the cause! Second place went to Hayley Benson, 12th grade Keokuk for “Joy”. Kaylee Adams, also of Keokuk 11th, garnered third with “Parrot in Paradise”. Honorable Mention ribbons went to the following students: Alesia Stanton and Taylor Howard of Cardinal Community, Cady Stuecker of Central Lee, Kaela Baker of FMHS, and Joshua Caruso of HTC.


The three-dimensional division stands tall again this year. Shelbie Foster, 12th grade Hamilton, has an exquisite chess board set made entirely of stained glass that takes first place. She won Best of Show ribbon in 2016. Allison Herr, 12th grade at Keokuk, hovers into second with an amazing “Glass Bird”. Jill Cannon, 11th grade Keokuk, wins third with a teapot made entirely of paper! Ceramics is a newer division for this annual as well. Ceramics is differentiated by sculpture in that works are made from clay slab, pinch, or wheel thrown clay and typically have a utilitarian usage. Olivia Williams, 11th grade Ft. Madison, pulls first place with her teapot. Victoria Murphy, 11th grade Hamilton, attracts attention at second with her taco bowl with plum jelly. Shelbie Foster, 12th grade Hamilton, throws down with a wheel-thrown pitcher. Mixed media division is a collective division for mediums not covered in other areas to include: 2D stained glass, printmaking, collage, scratchboard, computer graphics or animation, woodburning, and pieces that mix mediums together to create a union. Emily Dingman, 12th grade HTC, grabs first place with “Gold Dust”. Carlee Keenen, 12th grade Ft. Madison, takes second place with intaglio printmaking piece of internal organs. Samantha Schuler, radiates with third place stained glass piece, “Cashmere Mirrors”.

Photography is a new division that is looking for more participation. The new annual stipend from Ernie&Peggy Hobbs may advance that end. Ft. Madison High School is one of the few schools in the area that have darkroom labs already constructed in-house. No surprise that the Bloodhounds can pull their weight in this category. Carlee Keenen, 12th grade Ft. Madison, shutters into first place. Jaycie Gordan, 12th grade FMHS, ascends to second. Carlee Keenen ignites her flash for third. An honorable mention ribbon goes to Grace Kite of Keokuk with “Golden Magic”.  Viewing is available all month Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-5pm! This year's juror, Dennis Tubbs, proclaims “The wide variety is really impressive. It took me three hours to judge this show...a testimony to the skill level of the art educators and students alike!” Don't miss this always entertaining regional high school competition at FMAAA gallery on 825 Avenue G.