Shawnee-area students sweep juried art show at Mabee-Gerrer Museum: 'Such great talent'

Tina Bridenstine
The Shawnee News-Star
First place went to Bethel High School's Tragan Goodnight for oil painting, “Lost Flower Boy.”

The Mabee-Gerrer Museum of Art recently announced the winners of its High School Juried Art Exhibition, and all of the winners hailed from the Shawnee area.

Winners were:

• Best of Show: Julia Howell, Bethel High School, oil painting “2020 AD”

• First place: Tragan Goodnight, Bethel High School, oil painting “Lost Flower Boy”

• Second place: Leah Fisher, North Rock Creek High School, digital artwork “Marinette”

• Third place: Journey Wilson, Bethel High School, woodcut print “Cowlick”

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“I am so thankful for the opportunity of having my art shown in the Mabee-Gerrer Museum, just having my pieces being shown was cool enough,” Howell said. “When I got the news that I got best of show I almost didn't believe it and once it hit me I started jumping up and down! Being recognized for your art and all the time, hours, and days you put into my art feels so good. It's a feeling that I will never forget!”

Best of show went to Bethel High School's Julia Howell for the oil painting, "2020 AD."

“This was my first art show to enter, and has inspired me to enter more in the future,” Wilson, who placed third, said. “I'm shocked to place amongst so many great works of art. Proud of the talent that comes out of Pottawatomie County.”

Goodnight, in first place, said, “I'm honored to have placed 1st among such great talent.”

The Shawnee Lions Club sponsored cash prizes for those who placed.

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William Malouf, Bethel High School art teacher who teaches three of the students who placed in the show, said, “This year has brought with it many obstacles and challenges, more so than normal. I am extremely happy with my students' hard work and consistent dedication to creating this year. I am thankful for the Mabee-Gerrer Museum for supplying your artists with a space and spotlight in a time when students need it most.”

Bridget Moore, art teacher at North Rock Creek, praised second-place winner Leah Fisher when she was first accepted into the show, saying, “you don't see this level of work with 9th grade students,” and that “She always exceeds expectations and I can't wait to see over the next few years how she flourishes!”

Second place went to North Rock Creek's Leah Fisher for digital artwork, “Marinette.”

G. Patrick Riley, an Oklahoma artist and arts educator, served as guest judge for the event, considering more than 70 pieces of art made by 41 students. Riley selected the placings based on skill, originality and subject matter.

“The MGMoA would like to congratulate these students, and thank all the students who participated for exhibiting their artwork,” the museum said in a press release.

To see honorable mentions and staff favorites, as well as a list of all the students who were accepted into the show, go to

The museum first announced the juried art show after it canceled its annual Arts Trek event due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students in grades 9 through 12 were able to submit artwork from a variety of mediums, and the accepted pieces were on display at the museum from March 16 to the 27.

The juried art show exhibit wrapped up over the weekend.

Third place went to Bethel High School's Journey Wilson for the woodcut print, “Cowlick."

Tina Bridenstine is a reporter for The Shawnee News-Star. She can be reached at or 405-214-3934. Follow her on Twitter @tbridenstine1