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Oksendahl, Heidlebaugh win art show awards
April 26, 2019

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Two Rugby High School art students won awards this month in a juried student art show held at Minot's Taube Museum, and their work will become part of a touring art show.

RHS art instructor Stephanie Skeen said in a press release sent to the Tribune the annual show gives out about 116 awards.

"The artwork winning the top awards will be hung in different locations such as the state capital and in Washington DC," the release said. "There are about 84 additional pieces that are chosen for a traveling exhibit that will tour the state for the next year. In the past eight years, only one piece from Rugby has had the honor of representing Rugby on the tour. That was Jessica Blessum's oil pastel self-portrait in 2014."

Skeen announced senior Aleah Oksendahl and junior Kate Heidlebaugh will have their award-winning pieces in the touring show this year.

"I'm pretty proud," Skeen said of her students. It's only the second year that's ever happened. We've only ever had one other one win. So, especially to have two this year, it's pretty exciting."

Oksendahl described her piece, called "Waffle Window," as "actually made from colored pencil; kind of a mixed media."

"I did most of it out of colored pencil," she added. "At the gallery, it all has to be original art. So, what I did was took a picture I had on Instagram that I took when I went to Portland, Oregon. And there's this place called 'Waffle Window', she said, "that's what inspired my piece. I had a waffle, and drew that from colored pencil, and then the powdered sugar, with that being white, it was hard to put white on a dark in pencil, and so, I used paint for that."

"And I put a lot of hours into it," Oksendahl noted. "I probably put two weeks into it. "

"I've actually entered pieces into this gallery for three years, my whole high school career, and I've never received an award," Oksendahl noted. "So to actually finally win an award was a really big accomplishment."

Oksendahl said her work has received positive feedback. "I know people did compliment it a lot. They said it looked exactly like the picture, and that was a really huge thing for me."

Heidlebaugh described her inspiration for her award-winning farm scene, titled "My First Plein* Air": "I was on top of my bins outside my farm awhile ago, about a year or two back, and the sunset was looking really pretty, so I took a picture. And so that's what my painting is based on a field with trees around it."

"I used acrylic; I didn't use colored pencil or anything else," Heidlebaugh noted.

"Around that time, I just got done studying plein air painting. That's natural painting; it's like the environment and nature."

Heidlebaugh said her painting "was quite literally my first plein air painting, so the title I put for the piece was, 'My First Plein Air.'"

"This is the first time I've ever submitted anything into the Minot competition, so I was kind of surprised (at the award) very taken aback," Heidlebaugh added.

Skeen said some students from other schools who submit art to the show "have had art (classes) since kindergarten, and these guys have only had art since the eighth grade, so this is pretty exciting."

*In the April 27th issue of the Tribune, the French word "plein" was misspelled as "plan" in the story, Oksendahl, Heidlebaugh win art show awards. We regret the error.

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