Shawnee Mission Staff Art Show Returns, Hocker Grove Art Teacher Honored

Staff Art Show
Shawnee Mission School District

At the beginning of the school year, Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) staff and educators displayed their creativity and talent at the Center for Academic Achievement (CAA), with the return of the Staff Art Show tradition. 

As part of this show, the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation purchased a winning piece and gifted it to the District to become part of the District’s permanent collection.

A panel of judges from the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation selected Kaitlyn Flager, art teacher at Hocker Grove Middle School as this year’s winner, with her Earthenware clay piece, “Where the Bison Roam”, a three-dimensional textured plate with a bison on it that gets more abstract as a viewer’s eyes travel across the piece. 

“In my piece, the bison fades into the background as they did many years ago when they were on the verge of extinction,”Flager said.

The permanent collection goes on display in the CAA gallery after the last student show of the school year ends in May.

“Having my piece selected was overwhelming in the best way,” Flager said. “My students were very excited to see me honored in this way.”

The permanent collection remains on display through the summer. The winner also receives a grant from the Foundation for their school’s art department.

Megan Ellis, district visual arts coordinator, partnered with the Shawnee Mission Education Foundation to bring back the staff art show after nearly a decade.

Ellis celebrated the acquisition of Flager’s artwork saying it is “beautifully crafted and visually moving.”

“Kaitlyn is extremely dedicated to her students, and constantly demonstrates the power and impact of art education,” Ellis added. 

In future years, organizers plan to continue to recognize the creativity of SMSD staff and the value their passion holds for our community, as well as further support the visual arts and its necessity in education.

All SMSD staff were invited to share an original work of art. More than 35 pieces were entered from staff across the district, including custodians, school office staff, support staff and teachers from a variety of content areas in elementary, middle and high school. 

“I am excited that our community will be able to continue to view this piece annually for years to come and for Kaitlyn to leave such a beautiful mark on our District,” shared Ellis.