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AYAA: Aftermath

Edith Garcia, Writer

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The countdown had begun. It was one of the most important competitions for young artists all over the state. For many, the Arkansas Young Artists Association (AYAA), is a chance to hang out with fellow young artists in downtown Little Rock, but for others, it is an opportunity to showcase the months of hard work in hopes of winning awards and possible scholarships to prestigious art colleges.  

Art became an important part in my life ever since I could remember,” senior Parker Sherrill said. “I would take art lessons, draw, paint, whatever.”

After taking home first place in 2016 for Ceramics and second place for Crafts in this year’s competition, Sherrill has become an AYAA veteran, sometimes even working for two months on a single project.

“I have a huge support system when it comes to art,” Sherrill said. “I have support from friends, family, teachers [and] even strangers.”

Sherrill was not too confident going into the competition, but came out with great results.

“I was nervous if I would win anything or not,” Sherrill said. “I was completely shocked [when I won]. I felt it was a huge honor and I was really proud of myself.”

Senior Ashlee Stanley was another participant and AYAA award recipient. Stanley took home two awards, one for or Acrylic (Abstract Non-Objective) and another for Pencil/Graphite (Expressive).

“I decided to participate in AYAA because I wanted to go out and have fun while competing with hundreds of different artists and become inspired by others art and inspire others with my art,” Stanley said.

Stanley has taken almost every art class offered, and hopes to continue pursuing her passion for art.

“Art has allowed me to express myself in a more comfortable and powerful way,” Stanley said. “I’ve been creating artwork since before middle school.”

Although there are many artists who strive to be the best, Stanley is determined to keep her own sense of art and never compare her art to that of others.

“Everyone has their own unique style,” Stanley said. “It would be a boring world if everyone was the exact same. Always create the artwork you desire. Become inspired by your surroundings and keep making art. Express yourself through your artwork. Create a message.”

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