A Colorful View


Merideth Langton

Ashlynn Williams uses art as a creative outlook in her life.

Art is not a required class, but for some it’s more than necessary.

Senior Ashlynn Williams has been a part of the art program for seven out of her eight semesters at Kennedy.

Sadly that made it so I was one semester away from a 4 year art award, which I learned was a thing this year so a bit late,” Williams said.

Williams’ interest in art was not established at Kennedy, but at her elementary school in West Des Moines by her friend Brielle. Brielle was working to improve her artistic skills, which caught Williams’ interest.

“… that opened my eyes to what I could do with some practice,” Williams said. “So, I did art on and off from then.”

Williams has found herself examining the design of items, trying to figure out how they were made and how can learn from it if she liked the style. 

“… if I’m talking to you, I might also be over analyzing your facial features trying to figure out how I would draw it and what shapes are hidden in your face,” Williams said.

Creating art has been similar to therapy for Williams. It lets her freely express herself, whether that’s her emotions or personal situations. Art has been a gateway to release emotions, good or bad.

In her perspective, personal pieces are the most fun to create because they are private. 

I can be completely free with it because it’s not for others’ eyes,” Williams said. “… it’s for me so it doesn’t matter if it’s perfect or impressive because it‘s purpose is just to help me through whatever I’m dealing with and visualise it.”

Emma Beachner

The COVID-19 pandemic in the 2020-2021 school year did not stop Williams’ desire to partake in the art program. Williams took AP Studio, Painting 1 and Digital Imaging via Google Meet her junior year. Amanda Finley, art teacher, only had Williams in her online classes last year. It was only in the 2021-2022 school year when Finley got to meet her in person. She has nothing but kind words to say about Williams.

She definitely likes the digital arts but is always willing to learn new mediums even if they are not what she is use[d] to,” Finley said.

In Finley’s AP Studio classes, Williams gives positive feedback to her peers during critiques and ignites friendships with those around her. Williams is a determined, hard worker who spends her class time responsibly.

“In art we love seeing the passion, effort, drive and personal touches come through in their work,” Finley said. “Ashlynn is always looking to grow, works every day and adds personal touches to her work and you can see her joy come through when she talks about specific pieces which is wonderful.”

In her classes, Williams had recently finished multiple pieces, one an expressive portrait piece using watercolor, a type of paint Williams struggled to use in the past. The second piece was a picture collage representing the past, present and future. Williams based her collage on nature and how it has changed over time.

Williams’ skills have only grown throughout high school.

Williams’ high school art journey is coming to an end, with seniors graduating in less than a month. Even though high school is almost over, Williams plans to further her art career in Digital Arts at Kirkwood Community College.