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Avera McKennan Hospital & University Health Center

1325 S Cliff Avenue
Sioux Falls, SD 57117-5045
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Healing Power of Art

2014 National Arts Project Avera McKennan Art Exhibit

People’s Choice Award

People’s Choice winner earns accolades with dragon sculpture

Luke Simmons - 2014 People's ChoiceWhen the winds pick up the smell of wood smoke and the evenings turn toward autumn cool, you’ll find Luke Simmons in his garage studio mixing paper clay, creativity and recycled materials into yard displays for Halloween. His pumpkins, giant cauldron and over-sized witch all are known well around his west-side Sioux Falls home.

Old-hat at Halloween creations, Luke had never entered the Avera Employee and Family Art Show, so when his wife, Sue Simmons, mentioned it was approaching, Luke’s imaginative juices flowing a few months earlier than usual.

It paid off. Simmons was named first-prize winner in the adult amateur competition at the art show, and also garnered the "People’s Choice" award for his sculpture, "Sapphire" – a metallic blue, gold and silver dragon he crafted from a number of materials.

"It was my first dragon, and my first time in this competition, so I was surprised to win both honors," Simmons said. "When you do all the hours of work, you see all the flaws, but I suppose regular folks don’t see them like I do."

Simmons took pride in "Sapphire" and said he thought kids would like it. He also entered a fish sculpture, and said he takes a unique approach to creating his works. "I use a lot of recycled materials, like old coat hangers, newspaper, things like that," he said. "They last for a long time, and they’re not too expensive."

His wife, Sue Simmons, on staff at Avera Medical Group McGreevy clinic, said her husband’s work has been recognized in fall fairs at Newton Hills State Park, but that she was glad he entered the Avera competition. She said "Bubbles" the fish already has a home in their daughter, Madelyn’s room. The dragon’s new lair will be somewhere in the living room eventually.

The rich details of the creature’s scales, tail and claws require careful work and hours of patience, but the "enjoyable outcome" of getting feedback on something Luke considers a passion is a reward in itself, he said. "Awards are nice though, and it’s fun to get feedback from an audience," Simmons said. "The cash award will probably go to help pay for our daughter’s volleyball costs."

Simmons earned $300 for his win. He said if inspiration strikes he’ll again enter the Avera show. "One of the judges said I would have to enter the intermediate level, but I think she was joking," he said. Until then, his creations for fall will adorn the yard come October in time for the 31st.

Art Exhibit Winners

"Mono" by Aaron Culey $300.

1st Place: "Looking Back" by Terence Eaves $300
2nd Place: "Falls Park – Still" by Jay Bachmayer $200
3rd Place: "Instinctual Beauty" by Alexandra Hurney $100
Honorable Mention: "Be Still" by Jennifer Klarenbeek
Honorable Mention:  "Untitled" by Vincent Gormley

1st Place: "Relaxation" by Janice Palmer $300
2nd Place: "American Horse Indian Hat" by Robert Miner $200
3rd Place: "Moon Flowers" by Mary Carter Madsen $100
Honorable Mention: "Untitled" by Deb Eisenhaur
Honorable Mention: "Untitled" by Amy Pederson Thompson

1st Place: "Sapphire" by Luke Simmons $300
2nd Place: "Barn Chicken Quilt" by Suzie O’Hara $200
3rd Place: "Untitled" by Tyler Monick $100
Honorable Mention: "Viking Adrian Peterson" by Seth Dykstra
Honorable Mention: "Old Home Place" by Brenda Stough

1st Place: "Self Portrait" by Janae Porter $75
2nd Place: "Electric Melody" by Jennifer Will $50
3rd Place: "New Gait" by Skylar Halverson $25
Honorable Mention: "Mango" by Jayde Halverson
Honorable Mention: "The Virtiginous Eye" by Janae Porter

1st Place: "Blast of Color" by Nikole Irish $75
2nd Place: "Last Supper" by Sophia Swenson $50
3rd Place: "Cardinals" by August Schneekloth $25
Honorable Mention: "Night Owl" by Madelyn Rogers
Honorable Mention: "Reflections" by Ethan Srstka

$100 Scholarship Winners
Heather Anderson
Logan Carter
Lundyn Carter
Amy Longo
Rayna Olson
Lucy Peterson
Jackson Rogers
Madelyn Rogers
Ethan Srstka
Abigail Walicke