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Local students’ artwork celebrated at Sourcewell in Staples

Sourcewell's 2023 Regional Art Show showcased students from grades 4-12 in the areas of crafts/mixed media, digital art/photography, drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture/pottery/ceramics.

People look at the entries in the 2023 Regional Art Show hosted by Sourcewell in Staples
More than 130 pieces of art were on display in the 2023 Regional Art Show hosted by Sourcewell in Staples on Thursday, May 11, 2023. The artwork was created by students in grades 4-12 representing the Browerville, Pequot Lakes, Pine River-Backus, Sebeka and Staples-Motley school districts.
Frank Lee / Wadena Pioneer Journal

STAPLES — Budding artists from local schools were in full bloom with their artworks recently exhibited at Sourcewell in Staples.

The creative work of students from five area school districts was highlighted Thursday, May 11, at the 2023 Regional Art Show at Sourcewell.

“This has been an ongoing event,” Sourcewell Student Academics Coordinator Phillip Olsen said. “During COVID, It kind of went by the wayside, but it came back last year. We had 93 exhibits last year, and this year it's up to 132 exhibits.”

The Regional Art Show showcased the talents of students from grades 4-12 with pieces in a variety of categories, including crafts/mixed media, digital art/photography, drawing, painting, printmaking and sculpture/pottery/ceramics.

“The schools enter these (artworks) and we will bill the schools for $2 per exhibit,” Olsen said. “We leave it up to the art teachers at each school to determine their best pieces of work.”

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Sourcewell hosted the annual Regional Art Show, parents, students, teachers, the general public and the media were invited to attend this showcase of artistic talent at an open house.

2023 Regional Art Show hosted by Sourcewell in Staples.
Winners from each category in the 2023 Regional Art Show hosted by Sourcewell will be entered into the Minnesota State Fair in August.
Frank Lee / Wadena Pioneer Journal

“Oftentimes, schools do have certain student artists that are gifted in multiple mediums, or have created multiple in the same medium that are very strong pieces, and they would like them judged and that is absolutely fine,” Olsen said. “We celebrate as many as they'll bring to us.”

“Froggy” took top-place honors, for example, in the art show in the “grades 9-12 drawing category” at the 2023 Regional Art Show. The artist is Cassidy Shankle of Pequot Lakes.

Drawing of a frog by Cassidy Shankle of Pequot Lakes.
“Froggy” took top-place honors, for example, in the art show in the “grades 9-12 drawing category” at the 2023 Regional Art Show. The artist is Cassidy Shankle of Pequot Lakes.
Contributed / Sourcewell

“Art makes them happy. It brings them joy,” Olsen said of the students’ artwork.

Winners from each category will be entered into the Minnesota State Fair in August.

“Several of the categories had multiple ties in these top positions,” Olsen said. “It was clear there was a lot of great art here. After we have ties, the judges get together and have conversations about the nuances and why they scored a piece the way they did,”

More than 130 pieces of art were on display by students in grades 4-12 representing the Browerville, Pequot Lakes, Pine River-Backus, Sebeka and Staples-Motley school districts.

Phillip Olsen at 2023 Regional Art Show hosted by Sourcewell in Staples
Sourcewell Student Academics Coordinator Phillip Olsen looks at some of the artwork created by students and entered into the 2023 Regional Art Show hosted by Sourcewell in Staples on Thursday, May 11, 2023.
Frank Lee / Wadena Pioneer Journal

“This is an opportunity for students to be celebrated for their hard work and to be recognized across the region, whether they get a ribbon or not … and celebrated for this display that's open to the five-county region to just come in and check it out and really enjoy,” Olsen said of entries.

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Sourcewell is a self-sustaining government organization charged by Minnesota state statute to partner with education, government and nonprofits to boost student and community success. It is a regional service cooperative for Cass, Crow Wing, Morrison, Todd and Wadena counties.

More than $15 million was invested into local communities and school districts in 2021-2022, with an additional $15 million budgeted for 2022-2023, according to Sourcewell. The funds are used to support the goals and needs identified by public leaders within the five-county region.

To see the list of winners of the 2023 Regional Art Show hosted by Sourcewell and a gallery of their work, visit https://bit.ly/41Gmd91 .

I cover the community of Wadena, Minn., and write features stories for the Wadena Pioneer Journal. The weekly newspaper is owned by Forum Communications Co.
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