Whether the medium is clay, canvas or copper, Marianna Williams can craft it into an extraordinary piece of art.
"I really value drawing because that's the basis for anything in art," said the 16-year-old Augusta Preparatory Day School junior. "It's probably my favorite."
But to say that she is limited to pen and paper is an understatement. Marianna, who as a young child would watch as her mother gave art lessons, also paints, sculpts and does photography. She also has worked with a blow torch and metal.
"My mother did interior design and taught art, and my grandmother is a practicing artist," said Marianna. "I think my mom put a pencil in my hand before I learned to walk."
Most recently Marianna, the daughter of Julie Ann and Dickey Boardman of Augusta, has put her talent to work teaching elementary students the basics of art.
She volunteers weekly at Heritage Academy on Broad Street, where she works with second- and third-graders alongside her grandmother Mary Ann Baggs of Augusta.
"They're awesome kids, and they're so much fun," Marianna said.
Tara Chokshi, Marianna's art teacher at Augusta Prep, said her student is affected by what she sees in the youngsters.
"She says that, yes, they are difficult, and frustrating, but then she is quick to say they are so talented, and have so much potential," Chokshi said. "She just glows when she tells me about something cool that happened or about an artwork that one of the kids produced. She has come to care deeply about these kids and wants them to do well."
To volunteer at Heritage Academy, Marianna must miss study hall and lunch and clean up at her own school. But she says missing out on her own school days is worth it.
"They always look forward to art class," she said of the 34 students she teaches.
"The more we've gone through teaching them, the better they've gotten. Each week they build upon what they've learned the week before."
"I think Marianna is making a big difference through her art by giving her time and talent to these kids," Chokshi said.
In addition to using donations to buy supplies for her pupils, Marianna also has used money from her own pocket to buy needed items. Chokshi also has donated items to the class.
"I'm so excited about their potential," said Marianna, who is president of the Outdoors Club at Augusta Prep and plays both the guitar and classical piano. "I'm planning on teaching again next year."
"I can say without hesitation that she is the most talented student we have right now," Chokshi said. "She is a true artist in every sense of the word."
Marianna, who likely will become a painter and work independently after college, admits that being an artist isn't always what it's cracked up to be.
"Art is not something you can play around with," she said.
"It's a big-time commitment. I've always been so incredibly interested in art. I guess the more I do, the more I'm drawn to fine art.''
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