Cranston High School West senior Kailyn D’Elena was recently notified that she won first place in the Wickford Art Association’s prestigious art competition. The recognition has earned D’Elena $2,500 as well as a booth in the equally prestigious Wickford Art Festival being held July 7-8.
D’Elena was referred to the contest by her senior year art teacher, Valerie Bruzzi.
“She thought I was a good candidate for this contest,” said D’Elena. “I used pieces that I had done this year and one from past years. I had to submit five pieces in total.” D’Elena chose two acrylic paintings, two pencil drawings and one mixed media piece for her submissions. “I submitted them the last week of the deadline and they did the judging that same week and sent out an email right away,” D’Elena said. “I was surprised I took first place. I didn’t actually expect to place at all.”
D’Elena was honored at an awards ceremony on Friday, March 16 in Wickford. Her work was on exhibit at the association from March 9 through that evening. Both Bruzzi and her colleague Heidi Copeman were there, as Copeman was D’Elena’s art teacher in elementary school and for her first three years of high school.
“This is a great example of how strong and successful our sequential art program is here in the Cranston Public Schools,” said Bruzzi. “Art programs are just not like this everywhere. Ours spans the whole city and our program is supported by the superintendent and by our alumni. We have two galleries at Cranston West and a lot of unusual opportunities.”
When asked if she could have imagined herself at this level of artistic talent when she arrived at Cranston West, D’Elena is sure she could not have. “I can’t believe how much growth I’ve had in the past couple of years,” she said. “I can’t believe where I am now, versus then.”
As D’Elena considers life beyond graduation from Cranston West, she hopes to attend a fine arts college, possibly majoring in illustration. “I hope to maybe work in the field of animation or in graphic novels,” she said.