July 09, 2013 12:00AM
Art is a powerful thing. It’s a transformational thing. It can make people weep. It can make people laugh. It can make people stop and stare.
And it can also have a tremendous effect on the community surrounding it.
That’s one of the main reasons Rhona Shand, chairperson of the Department of Art at Pittsburg State University, submitted an application to be an artist for the inaugural SEK Art Fest in downtown Pittsburg.
“I actually did it for school reasons,” Shand said. “It’s important for artists to be involved in the community, and I wanted to show my students how much of an impact art can have on the community. I did it for my students.”
SEK Art Fest is an art exhibit in downtown Pittsburg that features 26 large, fiberglass coal buckets, which were decorated by artists from throughout the region. Nearly 60 artists submitted applications, and Shand was among the 26 chosen.
Her design features an aerial view of the wildlife management strip pit area with a floral overlay. Shand’s bucket is the “traveling exhibit,” meaning it is being toured around the area to help promote the downtown collection.
Shand said being involved with SEK Art Fest allowed her to meet other regional artists and take part in a community effort to promote the arts.
“The arts are so important because it really gives the artists a voice, a way of communicating,” she said. “It’s a reflection of society, and it the arts truly help build community.”
Shand isn’t the only PSU connection in SEK Art Fest. The panel of judges that selected the artists included faculty member Portico Bowman and alumna Heather Horton. Several of the artists were also PSU alumni. Pittsburg State University was one of the bucket underwriters.
“It’s wonderful to be a part
of a project that includes so many personal connections,” Shand said.
The large coal buckets of SEK Art Fest are located between 2nd and 8th streets in downtown Pittsburg, where they will remain until Sept. 1.
For more information, visit https://www.facebook.com/SekArtFest.