Wyoming State High School Art Symposium
This year I was able to take my students the Wyoming State High School Art Symposium, this is the first time in five years I was able to take my kids. In the past I was the Congressional Art Award Chairman for the state and had to ask my dear co-workers to my students.
The Wyoming State Art Symposium, in its 42 year, is the largest of its kind in the United States and takes place at the Casper Events Center. It’s a three day event for High School students; we take the ninth graders who are in third year art classes up for the day.
The Symposium features 4,000 pieces of student art by 1,500 high school art students from 48 high schools. Every high school in the state sends students and artwork. No other state dreams of doing what we do. It’s more like an athletic event, the students can’t put up their artwork until a designated time, and then it’s all out chaos. Space is first-come, first served. The students are told to find a bright space as close to eye level as possible -- but every other art teacher tells their students to do the same. Just imagine a bunch of teenager, starting the Boston marathon, but in this scenario they are scrambling around the event center clutching artwork. Then two and half days later it all comes down, in almost the same manner, as a teacher you hope you’re bring everything home with you.
Students will get to participate in organized art competitions, workshops and demonstrations throughout the weekend. Also, seniors interview with colleges and compete for scholarships, go to workshops about how to present their portfolios. There is also a huge banquet for all the students, and a dance. The kids get many opportunities to meet other students from around the state, and have a great time.
For the five years I ran the Congressional Art Award for Wyoming, so I was at Symposium for the entire time. I worked with the Representatives office and the Symposium committee. I asked three art professionals to be jurors, to pick 25 pieces of two-dimensional artwork, out of the 4000 submitted, and then the Wyoming Representative, with the jurors picked one artwork to go to Washington D.C. to represent the best of Wyoming’s art students.
Although I missed doing it this year, I was glad not to be away from my son, Vander.