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Local Artists' Exhibit in Yost Gallery Through April 10

published March 21, 2023Local Artists' Exhibit in Yost Gallery Through April 10

Yost Gallery, located on the campus of Highland Community College in Highland, Kansas will exhibit selected works by local artists Connie Herbster and Mark Ralston. The exhibition will open March 20 and end April 10. 


Herbster and Ralston are both local artists and local art teachers, and both will be retiring after this academic year. Mark Ralston has taught at Jefferson West in Meriden for 40 years. Connie Herbster has taught in Sabetha for 29 years.


Their combined body of work is a marvelous example of the diverse talents they have developed over years of practice. Their students and programs have benefited and excelled over the years from the culmination of their experience.


Yost Gallery is open to the community Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with no admission fee.



Artist Information:

Mark Ralston

Mark Ralston is in his 40th year teaching high school Art at Jefferson West High School in Meriden, Kansas. He was awarded the Secondary Art teacher of the Year in 2019 by the Kansas Art Education Association. At Emporia State University, Mr. Ralston received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Master of Art/Master teacher degree with an emphasis in Ceramics and Photography. Mark creates original wheel-thrown ceramics in his home studio in north Topeka. His ceramics have received many accolades from art exhibitions and art fairs. Mark is also always actively pursuing his love for drawing and photography. Mr. Ralston has been honored to jury many area high school league art shows. He is currently a photographer for Topeka Civic Theater and Helen Hocker Theater.


Artist Statement:

When it comes down to it, ART is all-around us and is an act of communication that can be experienced through the process of creating or by interacting with art as a viewer.


My favorite quote on art is from Walter Pater saying, "Art comes to you proposing frankly to give nothing but the highest quality to your moments as they pass." 


The “highest quality to your moments” is so true. The act of creating art is such a joyous process for me. I also love the history of art and love viewing how artists currently and throughout history have approached the creative process. I also have the honor to share my passion and knowledge of art with my students. This, too, brings me much joy.


Connie Herbster

Artist Statement:

I grew up on a dairy farm in northeast Nebraska, which has had a strong influence on my character and values. It taught me to appreciate the simple things in life. I wasn’t a natural born artist. My high school art teacher sparked my interest and fueled my fire for the arts. I quickly learned it was my passion, and as a junior in high school, I decided I wanted to become an art teacher. I earned my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Education at Doane College and my Master of Art in Education from Baker University. I took my first teaching job in Sabetha and fell in love with the students and community. Now, 29 years later, I still want to be an art teacher! I can’t imagine a more rewarding and worthwhile career.


At Doane, I was greatly influenced by my painting instructor, Richard Terrell. His loose interpretations of Nebraska landscapes and manipulations of low horizon lines inspired me. At the same time, I became a great fan of the artwork by contemporary painter, Edward Hopper. To this day, his style and subject matter inspire me. His use of simple forms, low light, long shadows and earthy colors are reflected in my paintings. Terrell’s landscapes, Hopper’s artwork and my rural upbringing influence what I choose to paint. I love rural scenes and appreciate the beauty of simple, everyday life in Kansas and Nebraska.


While at Doane, I also studied under potter, Gary Martin. The form and function of his pottery is still evident in my clay work today. As in painting, simple form and shape are my preferences when it comes to making pottery. I love the wheel and find it to be a great respite from my busy life as a mom and teacher. While I work, it’s a great time for thought and reflection. I find it to be the perfect way to end my day at school or unwind on the weekend. The pottery that comes from this is a bonus, but the real reward for me is the quiet time.


Art is a blessing to me. It is a gift that I am grateful for every day of my life. And I hope that as a teacher and an artist I can in some small way share that blessing with others.

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