February 27 - March 31, 2019


History & Purpose

In 1993, Fr. Willys Neustrom established a memorial competition in honor of his late wife, Gerry. The Salina Art Center hosted the Gerry Neustrom Youth Challenge until 2010. The annual exhibition provided the Salina Art Center the opportunity to showcase a selection of the finest artwork created by high school students in central and northwest Kansas. Typically jurored by a university artist/educator, with selected works displayed for a month at the Central Mall, the Youth Challenge was a much anticipated exhibition.

Now, in a world where young people have so much to say, we believe it is time to reinvent the Youth Challenge. Inspired by the roots established by the Neustrom Young Artist Challenge, we are creating the Kansas Youth Biennial. Art encourages exchanges of ideas. The Kansas Youth Biennial will be a juried exhibition to recognize emerging artists in Kansas, age 14-20, for dedication, achievement, and contribution to exchanges that reveal life.

 The Kansas Youth Biennial will host its first exhibition in the spring of 2019. Educational programming to help youth and art educators prepare for exhibiting in this format will being in September 2018. Based on past Youth Challenge exhibitions, we anticipate hundreds of entries with fewer than 100 works selected for exhibition in the main Art Center galleries. A juror (or panel of jurors) will be responsible for selecting participants and award winners in various categories. Winners will receive cash awards and recognition at the closing reception. All artists selected to show will be included in a professional gallery program. Exhibition programming will also highlight many of the young artists, giving them opportunity to lead workshops or give gallery talks about their work and future plans.

Contemporary art, as celebrated at Salina Art Center, deals with current issues. We want to provide young artists an opportunity to share what is current in their world. What are the issues, their view of the world, challenges they face, or where they find beauty. Salina Art Center will provide a platform that encourages exchanges of ideas and respect. The exhibition also allows emerging artists to gain experience with exhibition submissions, building a portfolio, public speaking, marketing their talents, and much more.