Kelly Ryan honored by Long Island Arts Alliance
Legendary French artist Edgar Degas once said “Painting is easy when you don’t know how, but very difficult when you do.” For Hicksville High School senior Kelly Ryan, her craft is something she’s mastered enough to get her named a Scholar Artist of the 2020-21 school year by the Long Island Arts Alliance.
She is one of 20 students to be honored and one of four receiving an award in the visual arts category. A fan of Paul Cézanne and Claude Monet, Ryan’s artistic gifts have been cultivated since childhood and one that her parents and two brothers have always been behind.
“I’ve always loved coloring, even as a really small child,” she recalled. “Growing up, it’s always been a part of my life that I enjoy. And while I [embrace] all kinds of art, I definitely love oil painting.”
Currently in her school’s AP art program, Ryan stayed busy throughout the end of the pandemic-affected spring semester and the subsequent summer months. Her passion and work ethic are a big part of what impresses her art teacher/advisor Craig Mateyunas. It’s a large reason why she was nominated for this current award,given the fact that districts can nominate students who represent a high level of artist excellence and have an unweighted grade point average of 90 or above to be selected as a Scholar Artist. Nominated students are then asked to submit a portfolio of work and an essay to be reviewed by a panel before being selected. Mateyunas wasn’t surprised to see his prize student get selected.
“Kelly is in AP this year and was really rolling out projects over the summer as part of the program” he said. “But home or not, she works exceptionally hard and always pushes herself to try whether it’s working with new material or going outside of her comfort zone, doing landscapes, portraits and still lifes. She has a fine eye for looking at all kinds of stuff and is able to paint what she sees in her mind. She can mix like 60 different colors into a picture and for some reason, paint seems to work with her very well. She’s very good, patient, hard-working and diligent.”
For Ryan’s senior year, the creative flow hasn’t stopped, nor have the accolades. She was recently one of 65 Nassau County high school students chosen for the 2020 Nassau County High School Student Juried Exhibit and Competition hosted by The Art Guild. Participants had to submit original artwork from the past two years to The Art Guild to be considered for the competition and exhibition. Joining Ryan were classmates Stephanie Lopez, Isabella Weber, Cailin Hoang and Aleena Abraham. Moving on to college, Ryan’s wish list includes SUNY Oswego, Pratt Institute and Adelphi University. Her long-range career goal is to become and illustrator/designer. The Hicksville native gives full credit to her community for helping flesh out her creative muse.
“I’ve always loved going to Hicksville,” Ryan said. “All my teachers and classes have been very helpful to me. I’ve learned so much through my art classes, especially figuring out my skills.”