Aspiring young artists revealed their works of art at the Verdigris Valley Young Artists Exhibit Friday evening at the Independence Historical Museum and Arts Center, available through May 5, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Coffeyville Community College arts director Michael DeRose judged the competition and offered personal critiques to each of the artists after the judging was complete. 

Kathleen "Kat" Bradshaw, president of Young Artists art club, said, "This is the fifth year for the Young Artists Exhibit. It is primarily high school and middle school age displaying their art, however, there are some elementary exhibits displayed with the others." The exhibit is open to any high school-age artists within a 100 mile radius. This year's entries came from Independence Middle School, Independence High School and Cherryvale High School.  

The Verdigris Valley Young Artists Exhibit came about because of the Verdigris Valley Art Exhibit (VVAE), which is primarily an adult age art exhibit. The VVAE was wanting to branch off the adult exhibit from the youth exhibits due to the growth of entries from the youth.  

After the second year, the young artists exhibit began to flourish with more young artist entries. This year's event included 130 of the area's best young artists. 

A new addition to the VVYAE is the Monster Exhibit. Noah Ring, class of 2016, came up with the idea and it went on display for the first time in the spring of 2015 at the Public Library in May and at Eisenhower School in the Fall 2015. 

"Now in its fourth year, the Monster Exhibit is a collaboration between the grade schools and Independence High School students. The grade school students draw a monster in with a felt tip pen then the drawing is recreated by a high school art student in color, in a drawing, painting, ceramics or papier-mâché monster," said Emily Lewis, Monster Exhibit coordinator.  

More than 100 collaborative pairs were on exhibit at the Public Library March 14 through April 17. Approximately 10 exhibits were entered in the VVYAE and will be on display through May 5. The entire 100 creations will be on display at Eisenhower School beginning May 7.

The VVYAE is the only entirely student-run art show in southeast Kansas. The Independence High School art staff and students coordinate the complete show. Kat Bradshaw and Alexis Mitchell were the VVYAE student coordinators for this year. Janet Demo provided the color posters and the color entrant booklet. Cy Smith, IHS student, provided the musical entertainment for the show. The VVYAE was under the supervision of IHS Art instructor and Art Club sponsor, Leigh Ann Stewart. 

Sponsors for the VVYAE were: Jim Hayward Fine Art Gallery, Casey's Creations Bakery and Deli, iCare Optometry, Pinnale Engineering and Names and Numbers


Best of Show

   Samantha Whittley      "Untitled"

Overall 2nd Place

    Kayla Kinsman    "Tree House Escape"

Middle School Mixed Media

1. Leo Ford

2. Brittany Zambrano

3. Mariah Goodman

Honorable Mentions: Alayna Benin, Kelly Newton, Tate Lewis

Middle School Painting

1. Tate Lewis

2. Luis Escudero

3. Katelyn Ferguson

Honorable Mentions: Brittany Zambrano

High School Mixed Media

1. Zach Mann

2. Christa Boswell

3. Emma Stoner

Honorable Mentions: Blayden Winebrenner, Corbin Caldwell, Ian Martinez, Lucas Moody, Ava Windsor

High School Painting

1. Jazze Reister

2. Belle Melghee

3. McKenzie Linn

Honorable Mentions: Samantha Whittley, Montana Watts, McKenzie Linn

High School Drawing

1. Cayla Valverde

2. Cayla Valverde

3. Cassidy Shouse

Honorable Mentions: McKenzie Linn, Abby Vineyard, Heaven Sallee, Blayden Winebrenner

High School Sculpture

1. Karlee Moor 

2. Leann Trout

3. Samantha Morse

Honorable Mentions: Jenna Eytcheson, Jaylee Bigley/Donte Decker/Blake Alliston/Katie Line, Trenton Rathbun/Savon Korm-Harris/Christopher Ortelani/Trey Ward

High School Ceramics

1. Gordon Atkins

2. Cortlan Cox

3. Donivan Darrow

Honorable Mentions: Donivan Darrow, MaeJaun Howard, Haley Smith, Emily Solano