LIVONIA – Through mid-March, the Livonia Public Library is inviting the community to view the artwork of Sara Gray, a high school student who died last year of cancer at the age of 17.
“I just think that it is important for the community to see Sara’s work and also remember her at this time of the year,” said Sally Collins, who organized the exhibit.
The exhibit featuring Gray’s work will be on display in the Karl Hanafin Community Art Gallery, on the lower level of the library. Eleven pieces will be on the wall and another 25 will be displayed in a case. The exhibit features an array of Gray’s works. She created some during her battle with cancer. Others were created years earlier.
“I know that some of the pieces are drawings that she did in like ninth grade and on up,” said Collins. “You can see that she has won awards for some of them.”
The artworks are not for sale and were picked by Gray’s family and assembled by family friend Kathy Metz of Hemlock.
Collins said the chosen pieces show not only Gary’s artistic talents, but her love of color.
“It is like you could tell that she enjoyed what she did,” said Collins. “She was a true artist.”
That Gray had artistic talent was evident early on to Laura James, Gray’s favorite teacher at Livonia Central School.
“It was very design line-types of things and she would fill them in with color,” said James of Gray’s works. “Sara was able to do her art without any type of reference images.”
It’s a style of art that James said not all students are able to pull off.
“Especially with technology, kids like to have phones out with reference images, which is fine,” she said. “However, Sara did not need that. She just made it a part of her and it was something that she enjoyed doing.”
James said that love of art shines through in Gray’s work.
While her love of art was evident while she was alive and lives on in her works, James said Gray’s personality and communication skills made her stand out from her classmates.
“Sara is a very sweet and quiet kid. She is one of those kids that you just kind of want to sit down and hang out with,” said James. “She is really easy to talk with and always respectful. She would talk to you like a person and not like I was her teacher. She just made me feel like Laura James and not Miss James.”
In addition to showcasing her artwork, James said the exhibit will serve as a reminder of the life of a young woman who was loved by many and taken too soon.
“It is a chance to showcase and celebrate Sara. We have not really been able to do that yet. That is what I get out of it in seeing her artwork in that space,” said James. “I just want to drive home the fact that Sara was sweet and easy to talk with. She was patient and kind, I think she carried that over into her artwork because her artwork was very patient and very careful.”
The exhibit will also be available in a digital version on the library’s website, livonialibrary.org.