Newman University art professor’s work selected for 45th Annual Smoky Hill Art Competition

Mar 27, 2014

Newman University Assistant Professor of Art and Graphic Design Pamela Pancake, M.F.A. has had two of her works selected for the Hays Arts Council 45th Annual Smoky Hill Arts Exhibition. Pancake’s work will be on display from April 25 through June 7 at the Hays Arts Council, 112 E. 11th St. in Hays, Kan. An opening reception will take place from 7 to 9 p.m. on April 25.

The Smoky Hill Art Exhibition is the Hays Arts Council’s annual state-wide, juried fine art competition. At the juror’s discretion, a total of $2,500 in cash prizes will be awarded.

The council received 247 works to be considered for the competition, but selected only 64. The juror for this year’s competition is Sherry Leedy, director and curator of Sherry Leedy Contemporary Art Gallery. She holds an M.F.A. from the University of Kansas and a B.F.A. from the Kansas City Arts Institute.

Making TheBed #2
Making The Bed #2 is one of the works by Pamela Pancake from My Mother’s Apron that will be appear in the Smoky Hill Arts Exhibition.

Pancake’s works are two illustrations from her book for children, My Mother’s Apron. She is still working on the book with a former student Alyson Baggett. Baggett is now a graphic designer and fine artist in Emporia. She takes the collage art created by Pancake and recreates each scene in watercolor.

My Mother’s Apron is an art-related picture book for young children that focuses on the automatism, spontaneity and gestures of active art making,” Pancake said. “In the story, the young character, Alex, utilizes action to create expressionistic, abstracted art in her home.”

In the book, Alex uses the power of her imagination to transform ordinary objects into scenes that resemble well-known works of art by abstract artists. It might be by accident, chance, or careful planning, but through cleaning and organizing the space around her, meaning is created and art emerges.

Setting The Table #2
Setting The Table #2 by Pamela Pancake was also selected for the Smoky Hill Arts Exhibition.

“The child is the tool; her home, the canvas; her acts of cleaning the method for making art,” Pancake said.

Rothko, Kandinsky, Miro, Klee, Appel, Gorky, Oldenburg, Corneille, and Dubuffet are all artists inspiring Alex’s work.

“The book focuses on the exploration, self-discovery and expressionistic approach that Alex develops as she works, while concurrently exploring her process of being and becoming through doing,” Pancake said.

The goal in each scene of My Mother’s Apron is to show that art and life co-exist through the character’s involvement with the things and people in her environment, Pancake said.

For more information visit the Hays Arts Council website at, or call 785-625-7522.