by Doug and Eileen Leunig

This month Giving Voice unveils “Faces of Influencers,” a feature dedicated toward the art of portraiture. This feature is a companion of a project Big Picture Peoria began in the fall of 2020 called “Portraits of Peoria.” That project involves local professional artists portraying significant personalities who have made a difference in our community. The portraits will be displayed as public art on storefront windows in downtown Peoria starting this spring.

Similar to that concept, “Faces of Influencers” will be a feature in Giving Voice for student artists. The portraits won’t be exclusively focused on local personalities. Instead, students can draw from the vast global pool of influencers who are a part of their lives. Their heroes are in front of them on TV, sports, the internet, and in their homes and schools. The only criteria we asked students to consider was to choose someone they admire. In addition to their art, we asked them to write a paragraph about themselves and their reason for choosing their subject.

The premier of “Faces of Influencers” comes from five students in Joseph Ortez’s and Carmen Sanchez-Lorente’s art classes at Peoria High. Ella Van Kuren, Clarice Gates, Mina Phetsavanh, Madison Seling, and KhennedyAdkins-Dutro have given usan insight into the world as they know it.

Each month Giving Voice will focus on art classes in different schools. The practice of mastery begins early and is sustained when encouraged. We are looking forward to Giving Voice continuing to encourage and mentor more creative expression of all kinds.

If you know of students who are interested in participating and expressing themselves creatively, please put them in touch with us. Email us at bigpicturepeoria@gmail.com. It gives us great pleasure to provide the vehicle of expression for creativity.

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