By Robert Pierce
Amid recent budget cuts in school art programs across the country, an Oklahoma student is showing that there are still young people who want to become involved in the talent.
What started out as a hobby has now become a passion for a Turpin, Okla., teen, and for the second year in a row, Brenton Kirkhart has taken home the best of show award from the Plains Indians and Pioneers Museum’s Paul Laune Memorial Art Competition.
Kirkhart took home $200 for the award from the Woodward, Okla., museum’s competition.
Now a teenager and student at Turpin High School, Kirkhart credits his mother, Tara, for his interest in art.
“I was sitting around the house bored,” he said. “She gave me something to draw. I’ve been drawing since I was 2.”
Kirkhart has won numerous awards in competitions from the Beaver County Fair to Quartz Mountain to Oklahoma City.
“It’s pretty great,” he said. “It gives me some pocket change. A lot of people congratulate me. It’s a great feeling to have.”
Kirkhart has plans to pursue art as a career.
“I’m going to Panhandle State University as an art major,” he said. “I’ll probably end up transferring somewhere else to get my doctorate to be a college professor in art.”
Kirkhart’s entry was one of more than 300 in the Paul Laune competition. His teacher, Lynette Hill, said he has always had an interest in art.
“He does a good job,” she said. “He’s going to pursue art after he graduates. He’s going to go over here to Panhandle State after he graduates and go from there.”
Hill teaches art in seventh through 12th grades at Turpin, as well as ITV art to six other schools across the state of Oklahoma.
Kirkhart also currently has an award-winning display in a high school exhibit at Liberal’s Baker Arts Center.
“He’s won numerous awards over the years he’s been in art with me,” Hill said. “He’s also a member of the National Honor Society we have here at Turpin.”