Successful Six by Six art show builds student artists' confidence




This weekend, art students at Garden City Community College raised funds while promoting Garden City Community College's art scene, but ceramics instructor and art department director Brian McCallum said the sale went beyond fundraising.

"It's great to get all of the students participating to see that the work they do can sell, because at times, as freshmen and sophomores in college, you're not confident in your work. And then to see it fly off the shelf and people readily paying for it, it's a huge confidence booster. It's good for them, good for us, good for the community," McCallum said.

On Friday and Saturday, art students held the eighth annual Six by Six Art Show and Sale, where they sold 6-by-6-inch paintings, drawings and photos.

Luis Salazar, sophomore, was helping work the checkout table Friday.

"All the 6x6's are done by (art instructor) Kyle Chaput or the students," Salazar said.

Lisa Garcia, sophomore, sold several pieces early on.

"This one was a four-piece, and they were supposed to be together, but one of them sold separately, so it's no longer a four-piece thing," Garcia said, pointing to one of her abstract paintings.

There were also drawings and photos offered for sale.

"You can do anything, like some of them are water color and then like oil paint. Some of them are also prints, so they glue the paper onto the wood block," Garcia said.

Gerald Aparicio, freshman, had a pencil drawing glued onto a 6-by-6 frame.

"I used Elmer's wood glue, spread it on there, not too thick because it will warp," Aparicio said. "Then we put a layer of glue over the wood, set the paper on there, put something flat on top of that and then a weight over that to keep it from warping so much, and then basically let it dry for an hour. I had never glued paper onto a block, so it was kind of a new thing to me."

Aparicio did an acrylic painting of a sunset, one of outer space and one of lightning.

Ceramic pieces also were available for sale.

"These are pieces that have been donated to the potters guild or department, or abandoned by students. At the suggestion of our division chair, Larry Walker, he suggested that we include ceramics in the sale a couple of years ago, and it's worked out really well," McCallum said. "It helps reduce our stock of leftover pottery, and it gives us some needed money for travel, scholarships and various other things — equipment, whatever is needed in the arts lab."

The paintings sold for $20 apiece, and the ceramic pieces were priced individually.

"We'll do a lot of deals, if people are interested in purchasing multiples, whatever the case might be. We'll work with your budget. And where else can you get a piece of art that you can take right off the wall and go and walk down and put it up on your wall so inexpensively," McCallum said.

He said that he and GCCC art instructor Kyle Chaput contributed some of their pieces to the sale, as well.

"Kyle has a few pieces, and of course I have some ceramic pieces that are donated to it, as well, so we all participate," McCallum said. "There are some local artists who have also donated work over the years."

Much of the proceeds from this year's sale will go toward funding a trip art students are taking in April.

"We're planning on going to Kansas City the first weekend of April, so the students are very excited about that. We'll be visiting galleries, going to the First Friday event, which is a large gallery walk in Kansas City. It's got arts, music and all sorts of things. I'm sure we'll eat barbecue," McCallum said, grinning.

He said that he and the students will visit several art museums in the Kansas City area, including the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, the Nerman Museum of Art and the Kansas City Art Institute.

"Many of our students are from rural areas and have never even been to a city, so it will be a great opportunity for them," he said.

In years past, McCallum said, students have raised as much as $1,000. And in some years, the pieces sell quickly.

"It's varied from year to year. The first couple of years, if you weren't here in the first hour, everything was gone. Now, it seems as though it's much more of a steady crowd, so we're increasing our sales on Saturday," he said. "Overall, it's been a fairly steady fundraiser for us, so that's been really good."

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