Mia, a fifth-grader from Longfellow Elementary School, had been drawing pictures at home as part of a weekly sketchbook assignment for art class. Although students were only required to spend 20 minutes on their projects, Mia was creating detailed portraits of animals, objects and African-American women.
"Every week, Mia's classmates and I were amazed by her drawings," said Jennifer Raia, an art teacher at Longfellow. "One week she brought in a professional portfolio of her work, and I realized she had a series."
Raia approached Mia about the idea of having an art show, and worked with the superintendent's office to find a space where her pieces could be shared with a wider audience. Several of her portraits, including her series of African-American women, are currently on display in the executive board room located in the district's administration building.
"Mia takes her art very seriously," Raia said. "She puts an exceptional amount of thought and care into her artwork, and works very hard to learn and practice new techniques independently. She has shown so much growth in her abilities over the past few years and I am obviously very proud of her."
Q&A with Mia
Where did you get the ideas for these drawings?
I got the idea for the portraits when I was at an art show in third grade. A picture had an African-American woman, and I tried to make my own.
What art materials do you like to use?
I love to use just pencils–color, graphite, you name it.
How long does each drawing take?
Each drawing takes about one to four hours to make.
Who or what inspires you?
Something that inspires me is that you don't see many images of African-American women.
How do you see art in your future?
In my future, I see art as a half job. I want to have art and another thing as my job.