Kayla Hargraves, a homeschooled seventh grader, won first place for her woodworking and is proud to present her piece that is an American Girl doll closet.
CLAYTON -- Talented young artists received recognition for their hard work at the annual Student Art Festival sponsored by the Woman’s Club and Clayton Visual Arts at the Clayton Center last week.
Students from Corinth Holders High, Clayton High School, West Johnston High School, Clayton Middle School, and Archer Lodge Middle School, as well as home-schooled students, entered their art into the competition. Several students went home with ribbons, money, and big smiles Thursday night.
Just as her name was announced, eighth-grader Marcy Creech’s jaw dropped, and her proud mother looked on as Creech went to receive her first place award. Creech won three awards for photography, including nods for a black and white photo, a digitally enhanced photo, and a color photo, the three photos she entered in the competition.
Creech, who is homeschooled in Smithfield, said she became interested in photography about a year ago. “My mom just got a really nice camera for Christmas last year and I asked her if I could use it,” said Creech. “Then I just started taking pictures.”
Creech’s award-winning photos were of her chicken, a barn, and her sister’s Raggedy-Ann doll. She said she wants to major in photography in college.
Creech’s friend, Kayla Hargraves, who is a seventh grade homeschooler from Benson, also went home with multiple awards. Hargraves won awards for her print art work, as well as her woodwork. The woodwork she made was an American Girl doll closet, painted white with a red star. Since she is home-schooled, Hargrave does not take art classes during the year, but her mother said she can work on art during the summer in between school sessions.
Hargraves said she would like to be a lifeguard when she grows up, but “if that doesn’t work out, I’d like to be a photographer.”
Clayton Mayor Jody McLeod made a special appearance at the event and presented a challenge to the students. “I just want to encourage you as fellow artists,” said McLeod, who is the owner of Annie V’s florist. “My goal this year is to master three techniques.” McLeod told the students he is inspired by successful people he knows who mastered their craft by learning three techniques at a time.
At the end of the ceremony, the mayor joked that “it only takes one person making it big to come back and put that money back into the Clayton Center.”
All of the first place winners, including Hargraves and Creech, were awarded $20 for each first place award. Their art will now be entered into the regional competition held in Oriental, and if it receives awards at that level, could be entered into the state competition.
The art festival also featured work from member’s of the Woman’s Club that was entered into a separate competition, and is on display at the Clayton Center. The woman’s club artwork will also travel to the regional competition.
The Student Art Festival was the first art show of the year at the Clayton Center, which features artists’ work in its lobby each month. The art will be on display through January 31.