MACON, Ga. — When the Bloomfield-Gilead Recreation Center reopened last fall in the old south Macon Christian academy, Sabrina Wright wanted her daughter to embrace every opportunity in her own neighborhood.
Not only did Serenity Wright visit the center’s new library branch, the rising freshman at Central High School volunteered to help with summer camp.
Now the center is fulfilling her dream by celebrating her talent in a public art show Wednesday evening from 7-8 p.m. at 1931 Rocky Creek Road.
Center supervisor William Pollard was amazed by her compassion, dependability and talent.
“How many kids do you know that do things like that?” Pollard asked. “Most of all, she’s so considerate of other people. She’s probably a little, I would say maybe a few, light years ahead of a lot of young people in her generation and that’s what makes her special.”
The 14-year-old can’t really remember exactly when she first recognized her love for art.
“It was just something that always interested me when I was younger,” Serenity said. I just always liked putting different colors together, getting my hands messed up by paint, messing up my clothes somewhat. And it was just really fun for me and it’s something that stuck with me up until now.”
Serenity also sews and will be wearing one of her own designs when she puts her artwork on public display for the first time.
Her mother had planned to hold a private art show with friends and family at home, but Pollard was looking for ways to spotlight talented young people as role models for others.
Rec center community coordinator Natalie Allen said they were able to make the Wrights’ dream come true in a way that encourages the whole neighborhood.
“She was able to come to summer camp and show some of the kids some of the techniques she’s learning in some of her art classes,” Allen said. “Before you know it, we were able to do an art exhibit to show her to the community.”
Allen believes Serenity’s enthusiasm for art is contagious.
“Let other young people know that she is capable. You are able to do it. Your art can be your gift and you can display it to the world, if possible,” Allen said.
From the time Serenity was barely walking, she has been a take-charge child, her mother said.
“She was an angel sent to me from God right out of heaven. She’s always been smart and very driven: ‘Mama, I can do it,’” Wright recalled her saying. “From the time she was like two years old: ‘I can put on my own clothes.’ She was making up her bed at 3 and 4 and I just knew there was something special about her. Something different.”
Giving of herself to others has been part of Serenity’s routine since she started reading to students at Vineville Academy.
“Serenity’s always helpful,” Wright said. “If she can do something to help you, she’s there. That’s pretty much Serenity all the time.”
Wright’s face lights up when she talks about her only child. She’s elated Serenity has this opportunity to shine after sharing her own light with others.
Serenity experiments with different mediums from paint to pencils, markers and even makeup.
You can also catch her playing alto saxophone in the Sugar Bear band.
During Bloomfield’s summer camp, she painstakingly brushed custom masterpieces on children’s faces. She took extra care with a couple of kids who are on the autism spectrum. Her calm demeanor and gentle ways had them sitting still the entire time, Allen said.
“She is a great inspiration and a mentor, especially to some of the campers that came here,” Allen said.
Serenity can be her own worst critic, but her mother hopes the art show will boost her daughter’s confidence in her own ability.
Allen sees it as a way to encourage others to reach for their dreams.
“I do believe this will be a big impact because it will help others realize they can showcase their talent and they’re able to come and do the same thing that she is doing at her age,” she said. “It’s attainable. Any goal that you have, you can reach it if you put your mind to it and believe.”
Pollard believes she is the perfect ambassador for the renovated Bloomfield center.
“As we’re opening up this facility to a whole brand new people in this community, why not be represented by a young lady who represents this community, represents the confidence this community needs to keep moving up and also she represents what the future is going to be looking like in Bloomfield community as a whole.”
Civic Journalism Senior Fellow Liz Fabian covers Macon-Bibb County government entities. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-301-2976