Jacob Kroeger dreams of the day he gets to visit the Northwest and see a buffalo, up close – close enough to see the steam escape its nostrils on a frigid morning and feel its power as it blazes its way through a fresh layer of snow.

Although the Van Horn High School junior has never seen the majestic beast in person, he still captured its majesty in a pen-and-ink drawing on display throughout this month at Art Squared, 111 N. Main St. on the Square in Independence.

Kroeger and student artists from Van Horn and the Independence Art and Technology Institute will be on hand from 3:30 to 5 p.m. today at a reception at Art Squared.

Van Horn classmates Rubi Perez-Vazquez, Stevie Watkins, Kaleigh Reeves and Mailyn Rios joined Kroeger at Art Squared earlier this week to talk about the excitement building up to their reception.

“It’s such an exciting time for our students,” Van Horn art teacher Jessica Manco said. “They get to display their art in a professional setting and conduct themselves in a professional manner that will be so relevant after graduation.”

Kathryn Messick, who also teaches art at Van Horn, adds, “We can’t wait for our kids for everyone in the community to see. We are so proud for our community to come see what our kids do in school.”

Kroeger’s work can be seen on his Facebook page, JAKE’s ART & Drawings, which features many of the pieces he will have on display.

“I’ve been drawing for quite a while, and feel like I get better with each piece of art I create,” Kroeger said, “And I love it. I have a real passion for art. It’s so cool when someone looks at a piece of your art and says that they really like it.”

Reeves’ art features a colorful moth, flying through the universe.

“You know what I like about art?” the Van Horn junior asks. “There is no right or wrong. I do things I like, and I hope other people like them, too. Ms. Manco helped me with the sky and the stars and really made my piece of art I have on display special and different, and I like that.”

Watkins has a zentangle (abstract drawing that is created by using repetitive patterns) drawing that features a cat.

“I really like working with shapes,” said Watkins, a sophomore, “and using different colors. I think the colors and the patterns really look good with my silhouette of the cat.”

Honey bees come to life in a vibrant pencil sketch by Perez-Vazquez.

“I love art because it is so calming,” the junior artist said. “I’m still learning, and I don’t really call myself an artist, but I love art and I love using colored pencils because you can get such bright colors.”

Rios, a senior at Van Horn, was not yet born when singer Selena was shot and killed by her manager in 1995. But a gripping portrait, that features a portrait of Selena, along with music notes that have been shattered by a bullet, is one of the more compelling student pieces of art.

“Selena has been gone for 23 years, but she inspires me and I love her music,” Rios said. “I used pencil, pen and acrylics on this piece and want it to portray how the world was robbed of so much great music by the tragic end of her career.”

Karen Campbell, who teaches art at the Independence Art and Technology, will also be on hand for the reception.

“These kids are talented, really talented,” Campbell said. “There are so many different types of art represented and it just makes you feel good to be a teacher who works with these talented students.”