The Hutchinson Art Center will host a reception for the group exhibit of artwork from staff at the Hutchinson High School Art Department and the Hutchinson Art Center. The public is invited to the reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on May 18. Admission is free and light refreshments will be served.

This is a unique opportunity to see the work of teachers and staff in the beautiful setting of the art center. The work of Hutchinson High School art teachers such as Darren Morawitz, Debbie Mullins, Jace Chambers, Julia Johnson, Rachel Hindle and others will be on display through June 10.

By coming to view the show and buying work, you are supporting the local economy and the creatives in your community! The Hutchinson Art Center, located at 405 N. Washington, is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday.

This is the first time the Hutchinson Art Center has ever done a group showing alongside the high school art department. This collection will feature artwork from many different mediums including jewelry, oil paintings, ceramics, and many more, showing a wide range of diverse themes, styles and processes.

Darren Morawitz is an Art Teacher at Hutchinson High School. I had a few questions for him, about simultaneously being a teacher and working artist.

Does your personal work ever enter the classroom? Do you show your students your own art as a teaching or inspiring tool?

My work and influences are always entering the classroom. I feel like it's my duty to show them that I'm constantly working on my own work to prove to them I'm an artist who teaches and not a teacher who makes art. I feel like thats an important distinction. Plus if I’m not making my own work then I'm a bit of a hypocrite because I'm forcing them to make art and if I’m not then how do I prove to them the value in it.

In what creative ways are you inspired by your students?

I’m always inspired by my students. Sometimes they'll do something I've never tried and succeed at it and that will inspire me to try it out. I'll catch myself thinking, "I wish I would have thought of that," which is what I think when I see professional art sometimes.

What is the biggest struggle for you as an artist and a teacher? And how do you navigate through those struggles?

The biggest enemy with being an artist and teacher is time. I don't have as much time to devote to my art as a full-time artist but it forces me to manage my art making time more carefully. Plus, when I get home I may not have the creative energy because I gave it all to my students.

The work that the teachers will be showing work together is unique. What is your favorite part of this dynamic?

It will be great showing our work together just because that's a rare opportunity for us to put our work out there instead of our students. We are constantly figuring out ways to get the students art work out to the public and focusing on their needs but this will be an opportunity to put our own foot forward.

Rachel Hindle works at the Hutchinson Art Center, and is also showing work at the exhibit. She feels her time at the Hutchinson Art Center has an impact on her personal work.

What is the best part of being an artist and working at the Art Center?

The best part is getting to see the wide variety of art that comes in for our exhibits, gift shop, and from our members. It’s interesting to see how everyone approaches art so differently and has their own personal style.

How has your time at the Art center inspired your own work?

When I see an artist with a lot of skill, especially with oil paint, I get inspired to practice more so that I can improve my own skills or try experimenting with a different style and see what happens.

Jennifer Randall, a Hutchinson artist and organizer of Third Thursday, writes an arts and entertainment column for The Hutchinson News. Reach her at jenrandallart@yahoo.com.