ust as the buds of the trees emerge and the flowers poke through the soil, spring is a time for creativity to bloom from the community.

From the most abstract drawing by a 4-year-old child to a landscape oil painting so meticulously crafted that it’s almost like a photograph, art can come in any form.

This year, Greenwood arts supporters have planned a pair of events to showcase both amateur and professional ends of the artistic spectrum.

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Officials have created a community art competition called Art for the Ages, which encourages everyone from children to adults to submit their work in a judged competition.

The show will help kick off a new crop of public sculptures set to be installed along Greenwood’s Polk Hill Trail.

With the momentum the two events builds, artists and art enthusiasts hope to more firmly establish creativity throughout all facets of the community.

“Events like this allow artists to meet other local artists, develop friendships and collaborate with them on projects,” said Lisa Guckelberg, artist and chairperson of Art of the Ages. “Their friends and families might get excited about the arts, and maybe they’ll pick up a pencil and paper and sketch a little bit themselves.”

Art for the Ages is the culmination of years of work by the Greater Greenwood Arts Council. The organization had been trying to organize a community show, but the details didn’t come together until earlier this year.

Guckelberg, an artist herself, teaches classes throughout Johnson County and organizes a show for her students every year. She has chaired shows for the Southside Art League, so expanding to a larger public exhibition seemed like an easy step for her.

With only a handful of open shows on the southside, this will be another opportunity to connect with other artists and have their work judged professionally, Guckelberg said.

Already, her students are excited about getting the chance to show off what they’ve learned.

“All artists are exhibitionists,” Guckelberg said. “Very few people do art just for themselves to look at. It’s to express an idea or to show an emotion. Everyone has a different reason for doing it.”

The competition is broken into nine categories, including children, amateur adult and professionals. Ribbons and cash prizes will be awarded to the pieces deemed the best.

“Very few shows will accept preschool art, but we wanted it to be all ages, all ability levels for professional and non-professional,” Guckelberg said. “We’d like for it to be a show artists want to enter.”

Artists can submit their work on either April 15 or 18 at the Greenwood Public Library. An opening reception for the show, where the winners will be announced, will be conducted on April 22. The work will hang in the library until the end of May.

The competition will serve as a prelude for another round of sculptures to be installed through the Art on the Trailway.

Every two years, new sculptures from regional and national artists are leased and installed along a stretch of trail along Smith Valley Road, just east of Craig Park.

“The arts council wants to promote all the arts in our community. We believe that people remember the art as a cultural perk of the community and an expression of what we value,” said Barbara Dunn-Stear, a board member of the arts council. “By promoting our art show, concert, wine label competition and night of books we are bringing more art to the heart of Greater Greenwood.”

Most recently, the otherworldly pieces have served as a focal point in the city. “Celebration of Commonality” by artist Quincy Owens rises from the grass like a series of alien growths.

“Seed” by Sam Spiczka fuses geometric and anatomical shapes into a strange beast lumbering along the ground. “Iris,” by Scott Westphal, serves as modernistic buffer between the more abstract pieces.

Since its inception, the sculptures have been a talking point in the community, said Lynsey Gregg of the Greater Greenwood Arts Council.

“The majority of feedback is very positive,” she said “There are the occasional negative comments, but that is the nature of art. Not everyone gets it. It is meant to create conversation and emotion.”

The idea for the art trail came from Rob Taggart, director of Greenwood Parks and Recreation. His goal was to find a way to spruce up a stretch of trail along Smith Valley Road. The trail was used by residents, but he saw a potential for even greater use.

What if they could find a way to expose the public to world-class art while making the trail itself a destination, Taggart suggested.

Taggart worked with the arts council to come up with a plan to attract finished artwork from throughout the country to install in Greenwood.

A major donation from the Franciscan Alliance and help from the Johnson County Community Foundation and other sponsors covered the $13,900 cost of installing and leasing the pieces. The arts council paid $3,000 to each artist to lease the sculptures.

“Art on the Trailway serves as a landmark for drivers, walkers, runners, residents to identify their place, their home,” said Karen Wilkenson, president of the arts council.

The current artwork by Westphal, Spiczka and Owens will remain on the trail until May. The Greater Greenwood Arts Council is in the process of taking submissions for the new sculptures to replace that trio, Gregg said.

The only permanent piece on the trail is “Strider II,” an imposing sculpture depicting a lean figure walking into the wind. Greenwood purchased the piece after it was included in the first round of the trailway program.

Organizers are excited about the next batch of creations, and have heard from local residents asking when the new pieces will be installed.

“The art makes a statement about our community. We appreciate art, enjoy walking and driving by daily and having our kids interact with the sculptures,” Dunn-Stear said. “I love seeing people taking their family photos and selfies.”

At a glance

Art for the Ages

What: A community-wide art competition focused on judging the best amateur and professional work from Johnson County and surrounding communities.

Where: Greenwood Public Library, 310 S. Meridian St.

When: Entries must be turned into the library either 1 to 5 p.m. April 16 or 5 to 7 p.m. April 18.

Opening reception: 6 to 8 p.m. April 22, Greenwood Public Library

Prizes: Ribbons, cash prizes and art-related gifts will be given to winners in the nine categories.


• Preschool

• First and second grades

• Third through fifth grades

• Sixth through eighth grades

• High school

• Adult student/amateur original composition

• Adult student/amateur copy: Your rendition of another artist’s work. A photo of the original artist’s work must be attached to the back of your work.

• Adult non-professional original composition

• Adult professional

Show length: April 22 to May 20

Entry fees: $10 for one entry, $15 for two


Contact: Lisa Guckelberg, 317-796-4723 or

Author photo
Ryan Trares is a reporter for the Daily Journal. He can be reached at or 317-736-2727.