Not many adults, and even fewer teenagers, can say they have been featured in a professional art gallery. However, this weekend 17-year-old Kaya Abramson will have her own painted portrait on display for all to see.
For the past 30 years, The Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) has selected students from schools in Baltimore County to showcase their art in its annual gallery, “Art is for Everyone.” Abramson, a junior at George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology in Baltimore, was one of five students selected from her school to have artwork featured at the museum. She chose to present a life-sized painting of herself.
“It was the most ambitious painting I’ve done, so it was kind of a big step for me and for my art,” said Abramson.
Abramson grew up around art. Her mother was an art teacher for 11 years and her father worked for professional artists, but despite the natural talent that was obvious to everyone around her, Abramson didn’t always have the passion she has today.
“I really didn’t love it so much at first,” said Abramson. “I always just did it because I was kind of good at it.”
In 7th grade, Abramson was chosen to be in the gifted and talented art class, and in 8th grade she was introduced to the magnet schools in the area, including Carver. Motivated more by her distaste for her zone school, Abramson applied and surprised herself by getting in, However, it wasn’t until last year that art became such a big part of her life.
“Last year we learned how to paint, and that’s when I really started to enjoy it,” said Abramson. “I would be motivated to paint. I really want to paint. I like being able to tell my stories and express my experiences and feelings and I don’t really have any other way to do that except for art.”
Abramson plans on going to art school in the field of design, though she hasn’t yet decided what career path she wants to pursue.
“She’s already an accomplished and talented young lady,” said her father, Harry Abramson. “The [application process to Carver] revealed both her talent and her work ethic, and the combination of the two exposes she’s developed, not only talent, but time management and product management. Lots of talent without hard work is really worthless, but talent with hard work takes you a long way. You make your own luck in this world.”
Abramson spends most of her time at school. When she isn’t painting, she’s playing field hockey or lacrosse, or participating in the school council or one of her many honor societies. She also plans to start a vegan and vegetarian club next school year to connect the students who have chosen or want to choose this diet for support and recipe sharing.
The “Art is for Everyone” gallery is open now through May 20, 2018. A reception celebrating the student artists will be held on Sunday, May 20 from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free.