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SEMO exhibit features area high school artists

"Rodger" by Mattison Bowyer.

Artwork from high school students across the region, including art from Jackson High School, Saxony Lutheran High School, Notre Dame Regional High School and Oak Ridge High School, is currently on display at Southeast Missouri State University through March 28.

“Exhibiting Excellence,” the 43rd Annual High School Art Exhibition, is an invitational juried art exhibit for 11th and 12th grade students in Southeast Missouri and Southern Illinois.

Students had to submit their work to be judged, which was done digitally this year due to COVID-19. Artwork that was chosen for the exhibit is now on display at the Rosemary Berkel and Harry L. Crisp II Museum, located at Southeast Missouri State University’s River Campus.

Louise Bodenheimer, the area head of graphic design and illustration at Southeast Missouri State University, judged this year’s exhibit. Bodenheimer, who is also a practicing artist, has exhibited her illustration/artwork in solo and group shows regionally and nationally and has been published in Missouri Life Magazine.

“As I viewed the artwork submitted for this exhibition, I was in awe,” Bodenheimer said in her juror’s statement. “I saw so many levels of expertise with all types of media and felt sad that I could not select more pieces for the show. I was so impressed with the creative risk-taking, experimentation and tools used for expression.”

Annelise Coello, a senior from Notre Dame Regional High School, received first place in the painting category for her artwork, “Portrait of a Woman.” Emma Silliman, a junior from Jackson High School, received second place in the drawing category for her artwork, “The Notorious RBG.”

Mattison Bowyer, a senior from Saxony Lutheran High School, received second place in the sculpture category for her artwork, “Rodger.” Bowyer, along with fellow Saxony students Lucas Boren and Drew Dreyer, also received third place in the mixed media category for their artwork “Guided Gifts.”

Caleb LeGrand and Catherine Heckemeyer, both seniors from Notre Dame Regional High School, received honorable mentions for their artwork. LeGrand received an honorable mention for his drawing “30’s Steam Punk,” and Heckemeyer received an honorable mention for her painting “Flowers.”

Also featured in the exhibit are Jackson High School’s Mia Foote, Noelle Neely, Ella Rhodes and Erin Ireland; Notre Dame Regional High School’s Owen Beussink, Caroline Lochmann and Ellie Fennewald; and Oak Ridge High School’s Bailey Urhahn and Ethan Ruehling.

Admission to the Crisp Museum is free. Face coverings are required inside the museum, and social distancing guidelines are in place. Museum hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday, 1-4 p.m. on weekends and 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the first Friday of the month.

"Portrait of a Woman" by Annelise Coello. Photos by Jay Forness
"Rodger" by Mattison Bowyer.
"The Notorious RBG" by Emma Silliman.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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