Ben Patterson

Each year as the temperatures begin to warm and the days get longer, the Art begins to emerge from its winter hibernation and show itself off to the world.

At Benton Middle School/ High School, that is accomplished through the Annual Benton Art Show and the WaMaC Conference Art Show.

The Annual Benton Art Show consists of hundreds of artworks from the past year, from drawings, paintings, and photographs, to three-dimensional artworks.  Every student who has taken an art class submits at least one of their project for the show, though they are welcome to submit as many as they would like.  The artworks are then separated into multiple categories, where they will be judged against other artworks that were made using similar materials.  The main categories are; Drawing, Painting, Photography, Three-Dimensional Art, and Mixed-Media, (artwork made using more than one material).  There is also a Middle School 2-D category and a Middle School 3-D category.  Occasionally, the judge requests that some categories be split into sub-categories based on the overwhelming amount of quality entries, which makes deciding on the place-winners difficult.  So the Drawing category has been split into specific materials, like graphite and charcoal, before solving this issue.

Once the artwork has been judged, awards are given for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Place, along with an Honorable Mention.  There is also an award given for Best of Show Overall.

This year, the Benton Show will take place on Friday, March 10th, and Saturday, March 11th, along with the Spring Play.  The artwork will be available for viewing before and after the play and during intermission.

The winning artworks will also be on display in the case near the Art room and posted on the Benton Art Department social media accounts; Instagram:  @bentonartdepartment and Twitter: @bentonartdept

The WaMaC Art Show consists of Benton and the other schools on the West side of the WaMaC Conference; South Tama, Vinton, Williamsburg, Clear Creek Amana, and Center Point-Urbana.  The site of the show is on a rotation so that each school gets the opportunity to host every several years.  This year, Benton is fortunate enough to be hosting.  The main show and awards will be held at the Van Horne Community Center on April 19th from 9 until Noon.  This day is mostly for the teachers and students, as there is limited space.  However, the show will be open to the public on Tuesday the 18th from 5-7 pm.

The WaMaC Show is set up much like the Benton Show, with artwork being divided up into categories with other similar materials.  The categories are a bit more specific at the WaMaC Show due to the amount of potential work considered by each school.  There is approximately twenty categories total, and each school is only allowed to enter twenty artworks in total from the thousands of artworks they see in a year.  This makes choosing the artwork extremely difficult, and quite the honor for a student to have their work selected for the show.

Along with viewing the other artwork, and the awards, there are hands-on activities that the students participate in, which are decided upon by the host school.  The students also get to vote on their favorite artwork, and the winner receives the “Student’s Choice” Award (Benton has won the past two years).

Like with the Benton Show, the winning artwork will be displayed near the Art room and posted on social media.

Spring is definitely a busy time in the Art Department, but it allows the students to have their work seen, as well as a chance to see what others have done and become inspired to make more art.