BUCKHANNON — A very talented local young lady is about to embark on an adventure that will surely make this a summer for her to remember. Buckhannon-Upshur High School junior Emily Adams has been selected to attend the Governor’s School for the Arts 2019 (GSA) at Marshall University.
Attending GSA is a very prestigious honor and Adams is one of only 109 students invited out of the whole state. This summer celebrates the 25th season of the very unique three-week experience that will prove advantageous well into the futures of those fortunate enough to have been selected.
Heidi Thompson is Adams’ art teacher at B-UHS and she explained that getting into GSA is a rigorous and highly competitive application process with many components, including obtaining letters of recommendation. “She will definitely excel,” said Thompson, and feels that getting exposure to things outside Adams’ comfort zone will be the biggest benefit of her attendance. She stated, “Sometimes that’s when you really grow as an artist, is whenever you’re pushed a little bit.”
Originally started by Governor Caperton’s administration, GSA is funded by the West Virginia Legislature and is free to students. It is facilitated by the WV Department of Education and is truly a fantastic opportunity. Performing and visual arts are the focus of the program and they want pupils who will use this experience to learn and grow, according to Thompson.
Beginning on June 16, the budding artists will be immersed in a community with other rising juniors from all over the state. The letter of acceptance Adams received from Governor Jim Justice stated, “Through this interdisciplinary experience, you will gain a greater appreciation for the arts as a whole while building a strong network. We like to say, ‘It’s the best three weeks you never imagined.”
After 21 days of living and learning on Marshall University’s campus, the program culminates with a Sharing of the Arts, where students are given the opportunity to invite their family so they may learn about the experience and see a showcase of the school’s artistic talent.
Adams said, “I really want to do GSA because I want to meet new people and I want to see their art skills and see if we can learn from each other.” She is the daughter of Stephen and Shelia Adams and stated, “My mom is super excited about me doing this.”
Adams has worked very hard to hone her skills and enjoys reflecting with her old sketch books to see how much she has grown and improved. She said her mom frequently gives her feedback and is equally impressed with the progress she is continually making. “My mom is an artist too and she is very inspiring and so is Mrs. Thompson, they are very encouraging.”
Adams said the portrait she brought along that she drew of her late grandfather, Emery Tenney, was the final product after four attempts and explained her creative process. “I love doing portraits because I’m a very detail-oriented person,” said Adams.
She said she used the “grid technique” that she learned from Thompson to produce the final product seen in her photo. Adams stated, “I really wanted to do this for my grandma and my mama, in remembrance of him and because he was a big part of my life.” Thompson added, “There’s not a lot of students that have that kind of dedication to go home and continue to work on their artwork and pursue getting better like Emily does.”
“Emily will thrive at GSA. She is a good student, she’s always open to advice and welcoming to getting better,” Thompson stated. The B-UHS art community will undoubtedly benefit from Adams’ learning experience and Thompson looks forward to what she will bring back and teach others this fall.