By Warwick Valley Central School District Superintendent Dr. David Leach
Every child is an artist, Pablo Picasso once said. The problem, he noted, is how to remain an artist once we grow up.
The solution, though, can often be found in places like the art wing at Warwick Valley High School, where students like Jessica Bessler, a senior and recent recipient of the 2018 Youth with Exceptional Promise Award from the Orange County Arts Council, spend much of their time.
“Her passion for art is contagious,” says art teacher Kristen Spano, adding that Jessica spends nearly every free period in the art studios developing her skills in drawing and painting.
Jessica says it was in middle school that she realized that art, for her, would be more than a hobby or fun activity. “You can express ideas and emotions,” she said. She also discovered that her art, like all her school subjects, improved with study and dedication. As she honed her talents, she was inspired to learn even more.
She figures that she has been an artist since about the age of three, when she first started taking dance lessons. She has performed in countless shows and competitions in the years since, including jazz, ballet, modern, and contemporary, and her love of dance has inspired many of her recent canvases. Her paintings were also selected for the All County Student Art Exhibit at the Galleria at Crystal Run.
“Painting and dance have both taught me that I don’t have to speak to express myself,” she says.
Jessica is also an accomplished USA Gymnastics (USAG) competition gymnast, and she is a member of the Warwick Valley High School Art Club. Most recently she’s been experimenting with black and white photography.
After graduation, she hopes to attend Fordham University to continue her art and dance studies.
Each week, Warwick Valley Central School District Superintendent Dr. David Leach shines the “The Superintendent’s Spotlight” on one of Warwick Valley’s amazing students. “Superintendent’s Spotlight” features students who reach goals, face challenges, and are role models to their peers.