Twelve-year-old Kate Langley, a seventh grader at Lakehill Preparatory School in Lakewood, has been reading the newspaper since she first learned how to read before preschool.
Which, she figures, is why many of her paintings and mixed-media art pieces focus on current events, including a piece she recently created for Art Conspiracy (Art Con) 9 in Dallas.
Art Con is an annual, grassroots art event that has raised more than $150,000 for Dallas-area charities. Every year, hundreds of artists apply to participate in Art Con, but only around 140-170 are granted acceptance. During the event, artists gather in a warehouse to create unique works of art on site on a single 18-by-18-inch piece of plywood. Afterward, the pieces are auctioned, and the proceeds go to an annually selected charity. This year, Art Con raised funds for My Possibilities, a Plano-based nonprofit that helps adults with autism, Down syndrome, Asperger’s, Prader-Willi, head injuries and other disabilities.
This was Langley’s seventh year to participate in Art Con. Yes, you read that right: Langley first participated in Art Con 3 as a 6-year-old. Often her pieces are the offshoot of a news story or political issue she read about in the paper or saw on the news. This year, when brainstorming her piece beforehand, she originally planned to depict the government shutdown.
“I was going to paint the White House and have the doors with chains on them,” she explains, “but then they opened back up, so I couldn’t do that anymore. So I did Kennedy because there’s so much stuff about him on the news.”
After lots of internet research, she decided to create a Warhol-esque piece of President John. F. Kennedy. First, she lined the 18-inch plywood with reproduction newspaper clippings from the day after the Kennedy assassination. Then she fitted her portrait of Kennedy on top of it, bordered with a quote from JFK himself:
“Man may die, nations may rise and fall, but an idea lives on,” it reads.
The painting sold for $400 at Art Con 9, and it has since been gifted to the Sixth Floor Museum Downtown.
Every piece that Langley has created publicly has been for charity, she says. She’s never sold a piece for profit. Charity and community service are very important to her. “I guess just because it was something I was raised doing, helping people,” she explains.
At Lakehill Prep, she serves on the student council as the community service chair and is also highly involved in community service outside school. She has received the Bronze and is working toward her second consecutive Gold Level President’s Volunteer Service Award, a national award given by the President of the United States to honor children and adults who clock in more than 100 hours of service in a year.
Not only does she have time to serve her community, but she’s also a straight-A student at Lakehill Prep and has made the Headmaster’s High Honor Roll since enrolling at Lakehill in the fifth grade. Her favorite subjects are math and science, which she says “come naturally” to her.
As for her future: “I want to go to [the University of] Notre Dame and get my undergrad in anatomy, and then go to Drexel [University] and get my master’s in forensics,” she says.
She figures she’ll keep painting, but she’s not sure whether or not she’ll begin to sell some of her art or continue to donate it all. Sometimes it’s hard to give them up, she admits.
“I’ll donate it, if it’s for a good cause, but I don’t like selling them,” she says. “I like keeping my art.”
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