The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


March 5, 2014

Artists sought to transform footballs for upcoming festival

PITTSBURG, Kan. — The SEK Art Fest is kicking off its second season by seeking artists to transform 36 giant footballs into works of art, and underwriters to help fund the project.

The footballs will be part of the 2014 public art installation, "SEK Loves Football," from June through October in downtown Pittsburg an other locations in Southeast Kansas.

Last year's inaugural installation, which featured coal buckets, was a nod to the heritage of an area built on mining. While some buckets included design elements that spoke to that heritage, many did not: There was a bucket with mosaic tiles and Legos, one with signage from area restaurants and businesses and several with abstract art.

In other words, a connection to the object through art isn't necessary, organizers say.

"The beauty of this is that the art doesn't necessarily have to have anything to do with football or sports," said Leslie Harris, chair of the SEK Art Fest steering committee. "The football is the canvas, and the artists have free reign to do with it what they want."

Artists have until March 31 to apply online at A panel of three judges will review applications and will announce the 36 selected artists during the April 25 Art Walk in downtown Pittsburg.

All artists selected to participate will receive a stipend of $500 and a $100 material allowance. The footballs will be made available to artists in early May, and must be finished by June 14.

The steering committee also is accepting requests from area businesses and individuals to become underwriters for the SEK Art Fest. The cost to underwrite one football is $1,995. Those interested may contact Harris at 620-308-6392.

A reception for artists and underwriters will be held June 19, and the art pieces will go on display on June 20.

As was done last year, the footballs will be auctioned at a gala event in October. Proceeds will go to supporting future art events and festivals in Pittsburg.

Harris said she is excited to begin receiving applications.

"This is actually one of our favorite parts of the process," she said. "We love seeing the ideas artists have for the objects. Last year's coal buckets were incredibly well done, so the bar is high. I have no doubt, though, that the talented artists in this region will come up with wonderful designs for our giant footballs."

Work also is slated to begin soon on a downtown mural project coordinated by the Pittsburg Art Walk. A steering committee announced this week that it chose five area artists to complete the mural: Camillia Fearmonti, Pittsburg; Bryan Lewandowski, Pittsburg; Holly Kranker, Omaha, Neb.; Jenna Spencer, Pittsburg; and Elizabeth Cosby, Pittsburg. Ñ 30 Ñ


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