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
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,
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