TECH Artists’ Commissioned for Hutchinson Community College Pieces
If there is a Hutchinson Community College sporting event happening in Hutchinson, you can almost guarantee that Jeff Emrick and Casey McLain are in the stands, rooting for the Dragons! Earlier in 2023, when Denny Stoecklein, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for HCC and TECH Board Member, had the idea for a collaboration with a TECH Artist to paint the HCC Dragon mascot for the college, both of these gentleman were natural choices for the TECH Artists’ to tackle the project!
Honoring the Hutch Dragons
When TECH Art Coach, Sam Carriker, started talking to Jeff and Casey about the commissioned piece and the vision for what they would look like, she knew she wanted to help them create pieces that complimented one another and at the same time, featured styles that each artist excelled at. “We wanted it to match the HCC Dragons logo and incorporate the school colors. Through the design process, we went off of what the clients were good at and enjoy doing for a technique,” said Sam. Casey is really good at dry brushing and therefore, his piece turned out like a spotlight. While Jeff can do dry brushing, his piece had more of a framed “feel,” which really complimented his skills and abilities!
“We were so excited to have the opportunity to collaborate with TECH and its art program on these paintings,” said Stoecklein. He went on to say, “Both Casey and Jeff are loyal Blue Dragon fans, and when we discovered their involvement in the program and their amazing talents, we knew we had to make this happen.”
Both pieces will hang on the HCC campus and the community will have the opportunity to purchase prints from the TECH Art Gallery, which are now available for pre-order by visiting the site for each piece below! TECH is honored that Hutchinson Community College chose to partner with our talented artists and really let their abilities shine on campus.
“Dragon Fire” Print by Jeff Emrick
“Go Team” Print by Casey McLain
Mee TECH Artist Casey McLain
Casey has been in the TECH Art Program since 2017. He is always eager to start a new painting, and usually has a number of pieces he is working on. Fun Fact | Casey loves the Kansas City Chiefs.
Meet TECH Artist Jeff Emerick
Jeff is new to the TECH Art Program. Some of his favorite subject matters to paint include landscapes and farm animals. However, he also loves to celebrate the Holidays by creating paintings to hang in his house. Fun fact| Jeff is very active in the community and loves to attend and participate in sporting events.
About the TECH Art Program
The TECH Art Program enables adults with disabilities to receive coaching from a TECH Art Coach who teaches about different art media and guides participants as they create original art. Artists have the ability to sell final pieces through the TECH Art Gallery, which also has an online store, retaining 80 percent of the proceeds from the sale of their artwork (the remaining portion helps support the Art Program).
Arts and crafts has always been a part of the Adult Life Skills (ALS) program. In the early years, we were fortunate enough to have an ALS staff person who happened to also be an artist that could hold classes periodically, but when they retired, and the art requests kept increasing, it was time to look at doing something a bit different. We knew this was a program that the people we serve enjoyed and excelled at, so it was important to TECH to find a way for growth. Thus, a vision was quickly created.
Brenda Maxey, President/CEO of TECH at the time, reached out to the TECH Board of Directors for assistance with our vision. She had purchased a silk scarf by a person with disabilities from an organization called Opportunity Village in Las Vegas, Nevada, and wanted help figuring out how to make that opportunity available to the people TECH serves. The response from the board was overwhelmingly positive, and many spent hours doing research on the art of painting silk and setting dyes, leading us to experiment with the TECH participants in the Adult Life Skills (ALS) program.
With the help of grant money and TECH funds, equipment was purchased, and we all learned together how to paint silk scarves and ties. We also added classes where basic art skills were taught and developed. Local artist, Julie Black, began volunteering her time each week, teaching classes on painting. This time of week quickly became known as “TECH Tuesday” to many of those on social media. People looked to see what was happening with the TECH clients. Our clients LOVED it!
The all-hands-on-deck approach and support from our TECH Board and the community are what has made the TECH Art Program what it is today. While we still offer silk scarves and ties for sale, our TECH artists have expanded into other mediums, and original paintings and prints are definitely the most popular items these days.