PAOLA — There’s still time for community members to stop by the Reflections Art Gallery at Miami County Medical Center and see pieces created by some of the area’s brightest young artists.

The annual Next Generation Student Exhibit, which opened Jan. 2, will continue to be on display through March 2.

The student exhibit started four years ago thanks to an effort spearheaded by members of the Miami County Arts Coalition, including Sandy Hartley and retired Louisburg High School art teacher Glenda Flanagan.

The exhibit typically showcases artwork created by students throughout the region, including Paola, Louisburg and Prairie View high schools, but this year only the Osawatomie and Spring Hill high school art departments participated.

A juror has reviewed the artwork, and awards will be presented during a special reception from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 3, at Town Square in Paola. Members of the public are invited to attend and show support for the student artists. Pizza and pop will be provided.

Hartley will present the Hartley Best in Show Award, which was created by the Miami County Arts Coalition board upon Hartley’s retirement last year. The student who wins the award will also get $250.

It’s an award that should continue into the future, as Hartley said it has been endowed for the next five years.

Also, for the first time, a $500 award will be given to the school art department that has made the biggest impact this year on the exhibit. The board has raised more than $4,000 during recent fundraisers to be able to start the annual award.

This year’s $500 Outstanding High School Art Department Award will be presented to the Spring Hill High School art department.

“I can’t tell you how much we appreciate you recognizing our art department as outstanding,” said Spring Hill art teacher Brad Reinking. “It has been a long haul to get where we are today. We graciously appreciate all you are doing for the arts in Miami County!”

Editor and Publisher Brian McCauley can be reached at (913) 294-2311 or brian.mccauley@miconews.com.

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