Edge of Reality exhibit curated by teens

Man in Landscape R. James Hunt 1997.28.4 Gift of Bette Jo Hunt

Man in Landscape, R. James Hunt 1997.28.4 Gift of Bette Jo Hunt

Reality is the world or the state of things as they actually exist. Surreal is used to describe situations that seem dreamlike. When we look at surreal artwork, we can recognize imagery that is from our world or reality. At the same time, they contain imagery we don’t recognize or understand, things that aren’t real, or something that just seems unusual. This brings to question, what makes something our reality? We see the artwork and the subject so it’s an idea we can comprehend or recognize as being a thing, even if it’s not necessarily possible. You would think that because of this it’s not reality. However, we accept it as an idea so does that not make it a part of our reality?

Through this show Edge of Reality our teen curators Sydney Laster & Alexandra Poling from Washburn Rural High School are exploring what makes an artwork part of the surreal category and how many different media fit in this category. View this exhibit in the library rotunda and main hallway through July 23, 2022.

What does a teen curator do?

Alexandra Poling & Sydney Laster, Washburn Rural High School students & curators of Edge of Reality

Curate This is a semi-annual program that brings teens together from area high schools to curate an exhibit. To begin the participants decide on a theme or main idea.

The teen curators put out a call for art from high school artists and select pieces that help tell their story best. By looking through the artworks in the Alice C. Sabatini Gallery permanent collection (things we own), they fill out the exhibit.

Alexandra Poling checking sign with level

Alexandra Poling & Betsy Roe installing exhibit

The guest curators research our records and use the library resources to create text for the exhibit, which includes information for the artwork labels. They also write a curatorial statement that explains the story or idea the exhibit is organized around.

Sydney Laster hammering in hook for painting

Sydney Laster installing exhibit

Teen Curators learn to mat and frame artworks as needed. Deciding where each of the pieces and text will be placed is an important part of the layout process. Finally, the teen curators hang the artworks with careful measuring and leveling, and arrange the cases.

Voila! It is a finished exhibit.

Betsy is the associate curator and museum educator at the Sabatini Gallery. She has an MFA from the University of Missouri with a major in Fibers. Betsy has taught art classes at UMKC, Kansas City Art Institute and Washburn University. As an artist, her work is sculptural fibers and focuses on ecological concerns such as the preservation of Kansas prairies in the Flint Hills.