Local artists paid homage to Texas native trees and shrubs at the Killeen Civic Art Guild’s inaugural “All About Trees” contest and exhibit held Thursday in honor of Earth Day.

About 32 participants displayed their paintings, photos and carvings in the event, which was inspired by a similar contest conducted by the Travis Art Guild last year, said Jutta Mack, “All About Trees” chairperson.

“We left it open to any artist to use whatever medium they felt comfortable with,” she said.

The art guild is a nonprofit group comprised of area residents who are dedicated to promoting art.

“I do believe in recycling and planting native plants and trees,” Mack said. “I think the exhibit went really well since everybody loves trees, and we had more interest than expected so I am hoping to continue this next year.”

Samra Thompson, art guild president, submitted a conceptual piece, which included a branch and a lock and key in a cigar box.

“Participants really learn a reverence of nature,” she said. “Nearly everybody understands what a tree is and what a tree does, and trees are the one thing almost anybody can relate to.”

Oma’s Garten Pflanzen owner Randa Daude sponsored the event and judged the contest. She also provided a prairie flame sumac, a desert bird of paradise and a Mexican buckeye plant as prizes.

Wanda Gunter was awarded first place for her piece called, “Time, nature and trees.”

Marty Stanek, treasurer, said the event showed people how to relate to nature.

“This emphasizes nature and the trees in Texas and displays the talent and love people have in the art.”

Stanek took second place in the contest with a woodcarving piece called “The Green Man.”

“It’s a symbol of the forest and represents a mythical being between people and nature,” he said. “It’s important for people to compete and learn to grow as artists.”

Michelle Sandalhl, a student at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, entered a photograph called, “From Death is Life,” which she did as a class project. She won third place.

“I was actually in a cemetery taking pictures and I noticed this tree that had been hit by lighting,” she said. “It really struck me that in a cemetery that’s filled with death and the dead tree, that there was green life still sprouting from it. So I found that very interesting.”

The “All About Trees” exhibit will be on display for several weeks at the art guild, 802 N. Second St., suite 100, Killeen.

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