News Column

Building self-confidence in budding artists

August 1, 2014

By Olivia Neeley, The Wilson Daily Times, N.C.

Aug. 01--Wendy Winstead, owner of WenDesigns, has a passion to promote and encourage local young artists.

And on Saturday, the Wilson community can too by heading out to the 11th annual Art in August art exhibit event held at WenDesigns from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will feature multiple paintings created by 10 Wilson County students.

At least 50 pieces of art by youth will be on sale Saturday at WenDesigns, located at 3713 Nash St. NW. The community will get to meet the students as well. Prices start as low as $15 and could go up to $100. But folks should get there early.

"They sell out," Winstead said.

More than a decade ago, Winstead decided to hold a special event that aimed to promote Wilson artists and showcase their work. Through the years, studios and other places popped up, giving local adult artists various ways to display and promote their work.

Five years ago, Winstead said she decided to gear the Art in August event toward young artists in Wilson County. And it became very successful, she said.

"When we started introducing kids into Art in August it exploded," Winstead said. For several years now, Winstead contacts different art teachers throughout Wilson County to be on the lookout for students who are showing promise in art and lets them know about Art in August.

"We connect with the teachers and the teachers get them here," Winstead said.

Several young artists are selected each year and paint over the summer months. The 10 students selected this year from New Hope Elementary and Hunt High School will display five paintings each during the all day event.

"They can sell them or just show them," said Winstead, who has purchased several pieces of art from youth who participate in the exhibit. She's even used those pieces to decorate her own bathroom.

"We do not keep any of the proceeds," Winstead said. "It's totally theirs."

In years past, young artists usually donate whatever they make from the sale of their artwork to a local organization within the Wilson community.

Art sizes on Saturday will range from 8 by 10s to 11 by 14s. They will also have some smaller sizes, too.


Lunch will be served for community guests and participants Saturday. In addition to the exhibit, Art in August will have an added fun activity for the public.

"This year we are doing something new," Winstead said.

Tammi Barnes, who is the art teacher at Community Christian School, will be there for folks to paint their own pottery. The interactive class is free. Winstead said all folks will have to do is buy the piece of pottery they want to design.

"You choose the one you like, then you customize it," she said. WenDesigns will also feature discounted items in their store Saturday.

Winstead said it's important for the community to support young artists who are able to express themselves through their work.

"It's an outlet," she said. "It's a way when you can't be vocal to be vocal and you can speak through your art."

WenDesigns hosts the event to not only give back to the Wilson community, but to encourage youth to follow their passion in art, Winstead said.

"I'm trying to give them independence and self-confidence," she said. "If an art teacher sees promise in that student and that student has a passion for it, we want them to gain self-confidence by showing what they love to do. That's part of why we love doing it for the kids."

Winstead said she encourages the community to head out to Art in August Saturday to see the amazing talent on display.

"Just come and support these kids," she said. -- 265-7879


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Source: Wilson Daily Times (NC)

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