West Rowan senior wins Dare to Imagine award

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 31, 2012

By Kierra Perry
SALISBURY — Courtney Quaintance loves to draw people because she can portray their emotions.
For Quaintance, expressing herself through art is easier than using words.
“Art for me is fun and relaxing,” she said.
It’s also rewarding.
For nine years, Susan and Edward Norvell have been giving out the Dare To Imagine visual arts scholarship award to a Rowan County high school senior. The winner receives a $1,000 scholarship and a solo exhibition at the Waterworks Visual Arts Center.
To win the honor, a student’s artwork must exemplify creative potential of the human spirit, heart and hand, a press release said.
This year, that student is Quaintance, a senior at West Rowan High School.
Seniors in Rowan County high schools are eligible to compete for the scholarship. Cindy Morgan, art teacher at West Rowan, said she submitted the work of “my top two seniors with outstanding work.”
She said the students stood out for their spirit, technical skills, work ethic, and their ability to take constructive criticism to make their work better.
Of those two seniors and other applicants, a panel of judges chose Quaintance.
Morgan said she’s known Quaintance for two years since she transferred from Lake Norman High School.
“She is a delightful young lady, and she does her best on every project,” Morgan said.
Each scholarship applicant was required to submit a portfolio with four to six pieces of artwork.
After her selection as the Dare to Imaginewinner, the panel asked Quaintance to submit an artist’s statement.
In part, her statement says, “Art is my life. My first love is making portraits, however, there are many thoughts and emotions that go into each one of them that viewers may otherwise not recognize. When I create my portraits, I draw from my heart and process different aspects of said person’s personality. I feel as though I capture an essence that resembles them from the inside out.”
Quaintance said she believes she was chosen for the award because of her technical skills, her creativity and the variety of pieces that she submitted.
“I was also told that I provoked a lot of emotion in my pieces,” she added.
Quaintance said she began producing art after a friend’s work inspired her. Now she hopes her work will form a foundation for the future.
After she graduates from West Rowan, she plans to attend the Art Institute of Pittsburgh online. Her course of study will be Web design and Interactive Media.
“This way, I can use my art skills and still have more options when finding a job,” Quaintance said.
She plans to use her scholarship money to pay for school.
If she decides not to take up art, her second choice would be to study psychology.
Quaintance’s work will be exhibited at Waterworks during the summer exhibition period that runs through Aug. 11.
An opening reception is Friday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Waterworks Visual Arts Center is at 123 E. Liberty St.
Kierra Perry is a rising sophomore at N.C. A&T State University and an intern at the Salisbury Post.