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Warwick Valley student artist of the week: Alexa Keys

on November 22, 2019

‘Going by the old ways can be good in certain ways. But, making it your own and making things in new ways is the way to create amazing art.’

 

Alexa  Keys and her artworkSeventh-grader Alexa Keys is a firm believer in the power of creativity.

She’s taken her creative thinking and contributed it to the success of Warwick Valley Middle School’s Odyssey of the Mind team, which is the world champion in its category for two consecutive years.  Odyssey of the Mind is a creative problem-solving program where teams work together at length to solve  predefined long-term problems and present their solutions at regional, statewide and world competitions.

And as an artist, she’s taken her creativity and applied it different pieces in various mediums.

“Alexa is an incredible artist,” said art teacher Nicole Sisco. “She has great talent and effort, and when combined, she excels at everything she does. I have had the pleasure of watching her develop and grow since fifth-grade here at the middle school. Our goal is to have students meet objectives while being able to develop self-expression and Alexa meets and exceeds these criteria on a daily basis.”

For these reasons and more, Alexa is this week’s Warwick Valley student artist of the week.

“I think art is very relaxing,” said Alexa. “Art really isn’t an activity you can do in five minutes.   You come up with something that you’re proud of. I like to see what different works of art I can do and challenge myself with different mediums. I like to show my work to people and see their reactions.”

Creativeness aside, Alexa firmly believed there are many lessons to be learned as an artist.

Art offers many parallel lessons 

“It teaches you patience,” she said. “With art, you just can’t walk away from it. You may have to try again. For me, science and social studies require a lot of patience. Creative art takes a long time. Jobs in the future will require creativity. Everything in life requires creativity.”     

Alexa Keys and her artworkEven listening skills can be refined through art.

“To do things a certain way, you have to be a good listener,” said Alexa, who favors using colored ballpoint pens.  “We have to listen a lot know what the next step is. Listening skills give you clarity.”

Her creativity isn’t limited to art and Odyssey of the Mind. She’s a cellist and a member the school’s chorus and guitar and cooking clubs.

“OM does inspire me,” said Alexa. “The sets we make have to be artsy and whimsical. Art is the building block for all of that. And, I love to play music.”         

Think ‘outside the box’

Alexa is fan of Keith Haring, an American artist whose pop art and graffiti-like work grew out of the New York City street culture of the 1980s.

“He definitely tried to make statements about the world and our problems and about the importance of loving each other,” she said. “He was very creative. I don’t like the step-by-step way. I like going off on my own with my own little adventures.”

For Alexa, that also means looking different ways of using materials and thinking “outside the box.”

“Going by the old ways can be good in certain ways,” she said. “But, making it your own and making things in new ways is the way to create amazing art.  There might be hard parts but overall, art might be something that gets you through a long, hard day.”  

 

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