HASTINGS, NE — On Mural Day, Hastings College is the hub of high school art in Nebraska.

“They don’t know what they’re going to paint until they get here," Professor Turner McGehee said. "Once they’re all set up and they’ve got their paints out and they’re ready to go, we give them a prompt.”

The prompt from Art Professor Turner McGehee? A postcard for your town. No trouble for students from Kearney High.

“We’re really known for our cranes and our archway.”

38 schools brought more than 200 students to the seventh annual competition, which is designed to cultivate an important skill set.

“Collaborating, working under pressure, doing something that they thought up on the spot and did it,” McGehee said.

Working together was the best part for Gothenburg students.

“Being able to collaborate and smack the tarp.”

The Gothenburg students incorporated their handprints into the mural.

“Stick colors on your hands, paint your hands different shades of that color, just stick it everywhere.”

What about the favorite part of the Kearney team’s mural?

“The crane. We love him.”

Hastings College senior art students were the judges and they loved the crane, too. Kearney High won first place.

“The crane with the sunset as the background just makes it pop a lot more.”

“I feel like it represents Nebraska as a whole. We always have the most gorgeous sunsets.”

“The stained glass on the archway looks like that, it’s not just a reflection of the sunset so it’s already mimicked in the arch.”