Improving their artistic skills and having fun at the same time is just part of the idea behind the Art Wars competition for high school students.

Art Wars is an in-the-moment competition where student artists, from multiple schools, compete against each other to make the best artwork possible in their category, per the competition’s website. On Saturday, Mitchell High School hosted the competition for 25 students from six different schools; Mitchell, Madison, Bridgewater-Emery, Burke, Hanson and De Smet.

The regional competition was broken down into three categories that allowed students to compete in two of the three categories; drawing, painting and pottery. Students were given two hours to work on their project, based from an idea given to them by a judge before then having to give an artist’s statement when their project is completed.

“Are they using their elements and principles of design? Are they using the media correct? And then it also has, you know, their take on the prompt -- their artist’s statement, their process and problem-solving,” said Nathan Knick, Art Wars Creator and CEO. “So the judge looks at that as a whole and then assigns them a score out of 100.”

Mitchell High School students Sydnie Liedtke, right, and Alyssa Kayser craft pieces of artwork out of clay while competing in the pottery competition during the Art Wars regional at Mitchell High School on Saturday. Liedtke took second and Kayser 4th place in pottery. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Mitchell High School students Sydnie Liedtke, right, and Alyssa Kayser craft pieces of artwork out of clay while competing in the pottery competition during the Art Wars regional at Mitchell High School on Saturday. Liedtke took second and Kayser 4th place in pottery. (Matt Gade / Republic)

The top four winners in each category will advance to the statewide competition being held on the same day as the South Dakota Visual Arts Competition on March 21.

Two other regional competitions have been held at Tri-Valley High School and Northern State University.

The program, which has been around for three years, had previously been solely held in Minnesota. This was the first year a competition was held out of state.

“This is our first time in South Dakota having another state (competition) and we just jumped right in and said ‘Hey, we can have regionals and then move on to state,’” Knick said.

Mitchell High School student Ashlynn Bryant competes in the drawing competition portion during the Art Wars regional at Mitchell High School on Saturday. Kayser took 4th place in pottery. (Matt Gade / Republic)
Mitchell High School student Ashlynn Bryant competes in the drawing competition portion during the Art Wars regional at Mitchell High School on Saturday. Kayser took 4th place in pottery. (Matt Gade / Republic)

The purpose of the competition is for “artists to have fun in competition, form bonds and friendships, and improve artistic skill. It is meant to improve not only the technical skills needed to create good art, but also the thought and purpose behind its creation,” per Art Wars' website.

Knick said next year he hopes expand the competition in South Dakota, with more schools competing.

Results:

Painting: 1st - Olivia Comes, Madison. 2nd - Socheatta Prok, Mitchell. 3rd - Zharkynai Omurbekova, Burke. 4th - Maryn Somerville, Hanson.

Pottery: 1st - Caroline Graham, Madison. 2nd - Sydnie Liedtke, Mitchell. 3rd - Savanna Vincent, DeSmet. 4th - Alyssa Kayser, Mitchell.

Drawing: 1st - Caroline Graham, Madison. 2nd - Alyssa Kayser, Mitchell. 3rd - Olivia Comes, Madison. 4th - Socheatta Prok, Mitchell.