Annual Art Show provides learning lessons for Northwestern students; show open through March 31 in J.W. Martin Library

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Annual Art Show provides learning lessons for Northwestern students; show open through March 31 in J.W. Martin Library

March 20, 2017

Students in two different humanities classes at Northwestern Oklahoma State University recently received some in-person lessons in the critique and appreciation of art by viewing pieces entered in the 14th annual NWOSU Art Society (NAS) Art Show in the J.W. Martin Library on the Alva campus.

Members of the Art in Life class taught by Ken Kelsey, instructor of history and fine arts, and the Introduction to Literature class taught by Dr. Kathy Earnest, assistant professor of English, viewed pieces entered in photography, paintings, drawings, mixed media, digital art, cartoon/comics, fiber arts and artisan crafts. The show will remain open on campus through March 31, and is free and open to the public during regular library hours.

Kelsey said he placed his students into groups so they could pick out their top three pieces from one of the categories and present their findings. He had them look at the various elements of the artwork, originality of the piece, craftsmanship, composition, how the piece was presented through framing/mounting, and how the artist followed the theme of the category entered.

“When we walk in to judge something we have to have certain kinds of standards,” Kelsey said. “Does it make a difference if you’re buying it or if you’re judging it? This just gets them to thinking about it, and this gives them an opportunity to actually do something, not just hear me talking about it…I like to hear each one of them, their voice, and their opinion, that’s critical. I think that’s what the Art Society is providing with this extraordinary on-campus opportunity.”

Earnest said that her class is studying Oklahoma authors, and she wanted her students to see how some of their peers share their perspectives and creativity.

“In class discussions we try to make connections between humanities and student-experiences,” Earnest said.

Kaitlin Kokojan, Bison junior majoring in health and sports science, said she honestly didn’t expect to understand or take much interest in the art show, but found she really enjoyed it.

“I found myself looking at pictures and developing emotions from what I had seen in the painting and how it may relate to my life in the past,” Kokojan said.

Jordan Coffman, Alva junior majoring in general studies, found the show to be interesting because several pieces were shown from a different perspective.

“These people are taking everyday objects and people that are shown to the world to be one way but are given a new meaning,” Coffman said.

Alexandria Shepherd, Freedom freshman majoring in pre-med, said the art show gave her an easy opportunity to speak and have a conversation with another student, and she appreciated the fact the NWOSU Art Society took the time and was willing to put the art show up where anyone could see it.

“I’m so happy that our show has offered learning experiences to more students than just our own Art Society members,” Angelia Case, NAS sponsor, said. “I think the creative ways that faculty members are using our show are wonderful.”

Case said 28 students produced 136 items in the show while 116 pieces were created by 14 non-students including four faculty, five staff, four alumni and one retired staff member.

All pieces within each category are judged for first, second and third placings. Each first place award is considered for a Best of Show prize. Students can win $15, $5 and $2 for first, second and third placings along with ribbons, and a $75 prize for Best of Show. Non-student winners receive ribbons.

“I’m thrilled with the quality of all the pieces entered this year,” Case said. “I can see a happy trend in the work of our students, especially. While not every piece can win an award, every single person entering should be very proud; they made the judge’s job very difficult!”

Case also encourages everyone visiting the art show to vote for their favorite piece from among all entries. The artist whose piece of artwork garners the most votes will earn the distinction People’s Choice winner and receive a ribbon and $50 prize.

“On that ballot, you’ll also find a place to leave us a comment about the show and your thoughts on ways to improve it for next year,” Case said. “And then, before you leave, please sign our guest book and leave us a comment. Our members and our exhibitors value your comments very much.”

Case said the People’s Choice winner will be announced prior to the end of the on-campus show, but the Best of Show winners, in a new twist, won’t be revealed until the Winner’s Show that will take place in downtown Alva during the First Friday Art Walk April 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Runnymede Hotel.

Non-winning art from the campus show may be picked up at the library on Monday, April 3, by 5:30 p.m. Artwork from the community show at the Runnymede may be picked up at the end of that show at 8 p.m. or from Fine Arts 211 on Monday, April 10, by 5:30 p.m.

“The Art Society is a small but mighty group of students who love to promote the arts,” Case said. “Our members work to raise funds all year so that we can have this art show for our students and non-students to enter, as well as to enjoy. We also appreciate the support of the Student Government Association for its co-sponsorship of the show.”

For additional information about the art show or the Art Society, visit the NAS website at, join the club’s Facebook group or fan page or contact Case at or (580) 327-8577. More information on classes within the Visual Arts program, please contact Kyle Larson, assistant professor of art, at (580) 327-8108 or


Class viewing art show

Students in the Art in Life humanities class at Northwestern Oklahoma State University look at artwork available at the 14th annual NWOSU Art Society Art Show in the J.W. Martin Library. As a teaching tool Ken Kelsey had the students determine their top three choices in each category and present their findings to the rest of the group. The art show will be open to the public in the library until March 31. All winning pieces will move to a winner’s show at the Runnymede Hotel on April 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. for the First Friday Artwalk.