A curated exhibit of children’s art is on display at Southern’s Spiva Gallery through Feb. 25. The fourth annual K-12 Art Show displays paintings, drawings, sculptures, glasswork and pottery from students from all over southwest Missouri. The exhibit is coordinated by Amber Mintert, assistant professor of art education at Southern and District 9 representative in the Missouri Art Education Association.

“There’s a lot of talent in the area and I think there are a lot of things we can learn from the art that children create,” said Mintert. “It tells us a lot about how kids think and what’s important to children. They are our future society.”

Before Mintert directed the art show, only high school students in southwest Missouri were eligible to submit artwork and students were judged on quality of work. When Mintert began coordinating the art show, she and other teachers decided there should be no competition in art and all grades should be allowed to submit work.

“Competition can be good, but it could also be a discouragement,” Mintert said. “I talked to all the teachers and we decided this would be a more positive way for students to be showcased and a motivator for our students that are good artists.”

Teachers choose which artwork will be displayed in the gallery. There are eight submissions of art from grades 7-12 and 15 submissions from grades K-6 from each school.

“I did a chicken,” said Amber Mintert’s daughter Olivia Mintert, second grade. “I put it on a piece of paper. I drew it with little chicks and made a collage.”

“I think it’s a great way to come and see what the different developmental stages are,” said Amber Mintert. “If you are in the education field at all, you would be missing out if you didn’t come see what they do. Especially at the upper levels, it’s surprising the quality of work that we see come through the show.”

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