Q&A with a Smart Artist: Wes Benson

Q-1/ How did you become interested in art?

Wes/ I’ve been interested in art as long as I can remember. I recall, vividly, drawing when I was a child, and the magic of being able to render whatever I wanted. I always had a knack for drawing and was always known for it. My parents are both artists, so I grew up surrounded by art supplies. I’ve studied art my entire life, through high school, college, and grad school in NYC.

Q-2/ How did you get started in Mensa?

Wes/ I became interested in Mensa only after taking an IQ test. My score qualified, and I was aware of Mensa, so I applied, knowing it would be interesting.

Q-3/ What kind of artist would you say that you are?

Wes/ I’m an oil painter. My style could be called a mix between Impressionism and Pop art. My work is representational, rather than abstract, meaning I paint things as you see them in the world around you. My background is in illustration (drawing), rather than in painting. I intended to be a commercial illustrator, but found I had more ability as an oil painter.

Q-4/ In which direction is the business going?

Wes/ My business is going in the direction of fine art, works that sell through galleries and private commissions.

Q-5/ If you were at a party, the talk in your same corner of the room would be about what?

Wes/ If I was at a party I’d likely be talking about paleontology. It’s my primary love outside of art. I dig for fossils locally and occasionally travel to Montana where I dig for dinosaurs with my friends in the paleontology department from the University of Kansas.

Mid-America Mensa Membership Information

Mensa is an international society that has one – and only one – qualification for membership, a score in the top 2% of the population on a standardized intelligence test. Prior test evidence is accepted. The American Mensa website has details on the more than 200 tests along with eligible scores. Tests are administered locally on a regular basis; see the testing information. With over five hundred members in the eastern Kansas-western Missouri area, Mid-America Mensa sponsors a number of activities each month. Special Interest Groups (SIGs), including Games, Book Lovers, Climbing, and Ethnic Eats meet each month. Members also gather at local restaurants and pubs for social occasions. Float trips on rivers within an easy drive of Kansas City have been summer highlights in the past as well as the Annual Picnic and White Elephant Auction. Special meetings with debates and/or speakers are also scheduled. Gatherings range from strictly fun to serious and everything in between.

As a member of the Mid-America Chapter of American Mensa, Ltd., you will receive our local newsletter, Mension, and the national publication, Mensa Bulletin. These will keep you in touch with Mensa happenings at the local, national, and international levels. For more information about membership, click here to send an email.

To learn more about Mid-America Mensa, click here. And click here for a history of Mensa itself.

Testing for Mensa The tests are administered once a month, usually on a Saturday or Sunday at a local library. For information on upcoming test sessions please contact MAM’s Testing Coordinator at [email protected] or visit the Mensa Testing Calendar at https://www.us.mensa.org/join/testing/. Currently the fee for testing is $60 and may be paid in advance by purchasing a voucher at the America Mensa website or paid at the time by cash, check, or credit/debit card.

Your test will be sent directly to the professional staff at our Arlington, TX, headquarters for grading. Your scores are kept confidential and should be returned to you within a few weeks.

Two tests are administered: a version of the Wonderlic Personnel Test and the Reynolds Adaptable Intelligence Test (RAIT). You are required to score at or above the 98th percentile on either test for Mensa membership. The tests are designed to measure your thinking abilities rather than specific knowledge. We will supply all necessary testing materials; calculators and other mechanical devices are not permitted. Please be advised that if you have taken either of these tests before with the Mensa organization you may not take them again.

Candidates under 14 should contact the Testing Coordinator for additional information as these tests are not calibrated for that age range. If English is not your primary language, or if for any other reason you would prefer a non-language based test, please contact us so that arrangements may be made. If you have any further questions please feel free to email me at [email protected].

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Flashback: Nine members volunteer at Ronald McDonald House

For several years now, a group of Mid-America Mensa members has gathered to prepare and serve dinner for visitors at Ronald McDonald House near Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. On Sunday, March 18th 2018, about 30 guests and our crew of volunteers – including Chris & Rhonda Johnston, Karin Miller, Susannah Sulsar, Paul Hough, Shawn & Diana Dyer, Al McMahon, and Jean Matzeder – helped to entertain with a tasty meal and fellowship. If you missed volunteering this year for this event, we look forward to more events, like this one at Ronald McDonald House, in the future.

MAM volunteers

MAM volunteers at Ronald McDonald House in March 2018

A MAM event at The Martin City Melodrama

The Martin City Melodrama & Vaudeville Co. welcomes the regional Mensa family fare on August 11, 2018 from 6 pm to 8 pm at their new forever home in Grandview, Missouri. This theatrical company has been entertaining families for over 34 years in the Kansas City metro area. All the material that the theatre presents is perfect for an audience of all ages and scripted to entertain ages 0 to 102. Children always receive priority seating at the theatre to be included in the interactive family comedies and musicals Martin City Melodrama has been known for. One reviewer from the Kansas City Star stated: “Martin City Melodrama presents family entertainment on a whole new wacky level. It is like G-rated Saturday Night Live!”

A delicious buffet will be served from 6 to 7, and then at 7 pm it’s showtime! UPTOWN JACK AND HIS ADVENTURES INTO BEANTOWN! (c) a brand new updated version of the familiar fairy tale told in G-rated hip hop style! After the production, enjoy a Q & A with the lead actor, Jack, and the playwright and director, who will passionately answer your questions about historical entertainment.

We want everyone to attend this unique family event on August 11, 2018. Food, fun, and frivolity! A great way for you and your children of all ages to spend the evening together. The theatre is located at 702 Blue Ridge Blvd., Grandview, Missouri 64030. This special event is strictly limited to 50! So to ensure your dinner and show reservation, please RSVP by August 6th to Diana Dyer. Walk-ins may be seated if space is available, but don’t count on dinner if you don’t tell us you’re coming.

This is a private performance just for MAM. Everything is free — the show, catered dinner, soft drinks, and dessert are all included at NO COST to you. [Editor’s Note: Special thanks to Jeanne Beechwood, Director of the Martin City Melodrama, for the info & photos.]

Mensa offers unmatched benefits for gifted kids

Mensa offers unmatched benefits for gifted kids

Sometimes it’s a challenge to be the smartest person in the room. It can be a bigger challenge if you are a kid. Mensa has resources that can help gifted youth with that challenge.

  • We have more than 3,000 members under the age of 18. It is the fastest growing demographic in the membership.
  • Among the resources we offer is MensaForKids.org, which provides lesson plans and activities that anyone can access and use, either in their classroom or at home. You can learn the scientific properties behind slime and how to make your own (moms love this!). We also have supplemental learning opportunities for our members through our partnership with Stanford’s Education Program for Gifted Youth.
  • Are your kids budding authors? We provide an outlet to write and get published in our quarterly magazine just for kids,YM2, and the Mensa Book Parade gives young members a chance to review the latest book releases for kids.
  • The Mensa Education & Research Foundation offers scholarship assistance to students who are both members and non-members. The Mensa Honor Society is open to young Mensans aged 10-18 who have not graduated.

Psstt… You must be 14 years or older to take the Mensa Admission Test but find out how to become a member without taking the test.

–from US Mensa webpage

Lifetime’s ‘Child Genius’ Showcases Mensa Competition in New Docu-series

Child Genius contestants

Beginning Tuesday, Jan. 6, “Child Genius” will air on the Lifetime Network as an eight-episode, weekly unscripted docu-series following high IQ kids and their families. The kids compete in a competition throughout the series, which was developed with the cooperation of American Mensa.

The show is produced by Shed Media, which also produces the same series in the United Kingdom and worked with UK Mensa in the same capacity in which American Mensa is participating. The UK show is in its third season. UK Mensa referred Shed Media to American Mensa when the company decided to do an American version of the series.

The unscripted series will focus on the realities, opportunities, and even the frustrations and drama that many gifted children and their families experience. Mensa saw its participation as an opportunity to consult, provide insight and perhaps add some balance to an unscripted show. Lisa Van Gemert, Mensa’s Youth and Education Ambassador, is featured in each episode, explaining the week’s competition.

— reprinted from US Mensa’s website