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Painter Georgia O’Keeffe, the ‘mother of American modernism’ said, “I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.” The wonderful thing about art is that it’s a medium for one’s own expression. There is no right or wrong way for someone to ‘do’ their art. Ariel Kersey will be heading into Momence High School in the fall, and she enjoys working on art projects.

Creating Her Way Forward

Most of her family seems to have the creativity gene; her father was a tattoo artist in his youth, her mother draws realistic renderings of flowers, and her younger brothers feed off of her creativity while honing their own art skills. At this juncture, when Ariel thinks about future college possibilities, she says she’s interested in going to an art school to allow her creative nature to flourish.

I like learning about things that happened in the past. I find it really fascinating.
By Erica Loos

Ariel’s favorite forms of art are cartoon drawing; she doesn’t think she’s very good at realistic renderings like her mother is. Having tried several different mediums, she’s found she isn’t a fan of spray painting because it makes such a mess, and she doesn’t like drawing in pencil. “I kind of find it smudges a lot, and it doesn’t really stay permanent,” she said. For those reasons, paints are her usual go-to. She also shared, “But I do like pottery and sculpting because I find it relaxing.”


Far from a one-trick-pony, Ariel has many varied interests outside the world of art. “I like history a lot because I like learning about things that happened in the past. I find it really fascinating,” she said. Math is another favorite subject of Ariel’s because she said she enjoys the challenges it offers. In fact, as an eighth grader, Ariel took high school algebra in order to set herself up for taking more advanced math courses in high school.


She wanted to “take the extra steps” in her math courses in order to pave an easier path for herself once she gets into college-level courses. Ariel hasn’t considered any specific possibilities for colleges yet – she doesn’t want to put the cart before the horse. “I’m just thinking about what I’m going to do in high school,” she said wisely.


Ariel is also quite active in sports; participating in softball, track, and volleyball. Her favorite of the three, she said, is softball, where she plays on her school team and a summer team as well. She’s hopeful to continue playing sports in high school, especially softball. “I’ve been doing [softball] since it was in fifth grade, and I find it really fun,” she said.


The COVID-19 pandemic hit everyone hard, and Ariel is no exception. She said it was difficult to switch to online learning and not having sports as an outlet. Lack of practice with her teammates created some hurdles for her, she felt, when it came time to get back in the swing of things again. Getting back to the level she was in prior to the pandemic was difficult, but she was able to overcome it.


Ariel was able to find a silver lining to the pandemic shut-down situation, though, in that she was able to spend more time with her family. “During that time, I was able to just hang out with them and play around with them,” she said. Having this extra quality time, she believes, helped to forge a stronger bond and connection with her family than she had before. Something she’s thankful for.

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