August 26 and the Final Friday Art Crawl in Wichita kicks off another exciting year for Steckline Gallery on the Newman University campus. Each year, artists from across the country ask to hold a show at Newman.
Associate Professor of Art and Director of Visual Arts Mary Werner, who runs the gallery located in the De Mattias Fine Arts Center, said, "We book at least a year in advance, sometimes two. I will confirm with everybody in April and May for the next gallery season."
There is a certain draw to the gallery Werner said. "Artists like the clean, white walls which showcase artwork very nicely."
Artists have different ways to connect to their audience during their shows. One way is Art For Lunch — something Werner started when she became gallery director. It started out as just Newman students attending, but has grown into a public event that fills the gallery. "This is an important event, part of both the educational and cultural components of the art program," said Werner.
Another way to connect to audiences is the Final Friday opening reception from 5 to 7 p.m. This is a great time for local art enthusiasts to come and enjoy some refreshments, talk with the artist and start their evening, usually enjoying dinner out and the Final Friday Art Crawl after the reception.
Beyond those events, Werner says she often receives phone calls from other colleges requesting a Saturday tour for their students.
Artwork is for sale, with the artist and Steckline sharing the profits. "We do sometimes do shows for charities and all proceeds go to charity," said Werner. Art is available for purchase at the shows, or any other time by contacting Werner at 316-942-4291, ext. 2199.
This year's bookings include artists in a group show (Dynamic) that features artwork from coast to coast, some local artists, and even some who will transform the gallery into a performance event.
The first artist to exhibit at Steckline for the 2016-17 season is Tara Hufford Walker, a local artist who is strongly influenced by Pop Art. There will be seven more shows to round out the year. The closing show will be Mark Flickinger, who is well-known throughout Kansas and the Midwest as a superior large-scale landscape painter. Each month, the walls of the gallery are patched and re-painted in preparation for the next show.
Even though most people come out on Final Friday and the Tuesday Art For Lunch events, the gallery has regular hours of Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., or by appointment.
There is no deadline to submit proposals, but because of high demand and bookings sometime two years out, Werner suggests the earlier the better. Artists can learn more about submitting their proposals online.
You can also follow the Steckline Gallery on Facebook in order to stay up to date on the latest shows and artists.