Art students create their way to greatness


Aynsleigh Penland

Graphic design created by Aynsleigh Penland using Canva’s Presentation software

Alissa Martinez, News Editor

While roaming through the halls of our school, you will see many works of art covering our campus, with murals on the walls, colorful club posters, and even student artwork displayed for everyone to see. These were all made by students for students, who were recognized and awarded for their impressive achievements. 

Senior Taylor Beard is a talented artist who has been taking advantage of all of the art classes our school offers. She’s currently an Honors Art 4 student, which is the highest-level art class here at FVHS. She is encouraged by her teacher, Ryan Potter, to express her creativity. 

“He’s definitely allowed me to have a lot of creative freedom and give me the time that I needed to put the work that I want to into the pieces. I usually have a timeline in between a few weeks that way you’ll be able to work at your own pace and get things to your liking,” said Beard. 

Beard’s art pieces can be seen around the school inside glass displays. School is not the only place her work has been appreciated. She has also participated in art shows here in Fuquay and other competitions. 

“At the local Women’s Fuquay Art Club, I got best in the show. I got the best in the show and first place in graphite, first place in mixed media, and first place in acrylic. I also got first place in acrylic and mixed media in the regional art show, ” said Beard.

Since Beard has been recognized for her local and state achievements, she has earned a reputation for her talents. Her skills in making art and her creative process give her the power to help other people locally. 

“They invited me to be a judge at the Easter parade. They sent me an email inviting me to be one at the Easter parade at the art center, and I said yes,” said Beard. 

The contest is being held by the Fuquay-Varina Woman’s Club and the Fuquay-Varina Arts Center. This gives Beard the chance to judge art and pieces created and use her skills with art in ways she didn’t know were possible. 

 Many students had the opportunity to send their art to local competitions and receive awards. Senior Arabella Gonzalez was recognized for her work created here at FVHS. 

“I won third place in graphite for one of the two pieces I entered into the art show. I also entered in a piece for oil pastels, but that didn’t win in that category,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez has taken four years of classes with Potter, which allowed her to form a strong understanding of her art and what she’s capable of achieving as a young artist. 

“I didn’t believe in myself, that I could do oil pastels, and he was my number one supporter. Mr. Potter said I should go for it and that I would do well with oil pastels. I did and I created something I actually liked. I thank Mr. Potter for always encouraging us and being a supporter of us,” said Gonzalez. 

“I’ve built a strong relationship with him where if I ever needed anything, I could just go to him, and he knows me as a person. He’s very understanding and being in his environment and how he is, he doesn’t constrict or limit you. He encourages and pushes you to try new things, and every time I wanted to try something, he would tell me to go for it,” said Gonzalez. 

Potter has also helped to give students a different perspective on the class and help to steer them in the direction that his students wish to go. One student that was able to see art through a different lens is senior Carly Houston, who would soon work up to taking his Honors 4 Art class. 

“I took Art 1 during COVID my freshman year and that discouraged me to take art again in my sophomore year. I didn’t take Art 2 until my junior year, and that’s when I had Mr. Potter. It was really different; the environment he makes is so positive. He pushes you to use different materials, and I surprise myself when I try new things and I actually like them a lot,” said Houston. 

With many seniors leaving their mark on the art scene at our school, lower classmen are making sure to look up to their peers and with the help of their art teachers.

Freshman Dakota Walker has used her art class as a way to find her passion and her safe place while adapting to the high school environment and experience. 

“As a ninth grader coming into a classroom that you could rely on and have a safe space to be yourself. It has taught me so many more techniques. I was able to have one-on-one help to grow my skills but also my perspective on art,” said Walker

Walker was able to use time with her art teacher, Justin DePue, to have an in-depth art experience and create something special because of his help. 

“I entered two art competitions because of him, and it was really cool to see my art displayed. It was a really unique opportunity. I received an Artist Merit Award, and it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. I was able to bind a book using old sketchbook pages and it was the most unique and amazing thing I’ve ever done. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do this without DePue,” said Walker.

Freshman Nathalie Quinteros has also had her perspective on art completely changed because of taking DePue’s Art 1 class, and it has helped her in all aspects of her daily life. 

“I did art on the side, but I never really pushed myself or tried to get experimental with it. Mr. DePue’s class helped me to push out of my comfort zone, and I was motivated to do good. It was through his class that I now know realism, perspectives, and color theory. When I pick out outfits now, I have the color wheel in mind, and I can thank Mr. DePue for that,” said Quinteros.

Through their teaching techniques, accepting environment, and the space to have creativity, all of our art teachers have helped many students around our school. These students were able to achieve greatness with the help of their teachers by their side to guide them throughout their high school experience. 

Next time you walk through the hallways, make sure to take a second to admire our student’s skills and appreciate the time taken to create that piece of work.