Every year, numerous visitors walk through the Boone Hall Plantation in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina on a historical tour. In the mansion, tour guides point out artifacts from the plantation and pictures of previous plantation homes. And then the group arrives at a surreal charcoal drawing of the original cotton mill, with piano keys for a roof.
The tour guide “would mention it being the only piece that was not original to the mansion opening in the ’50s,” Special Events & Group Sales Coordinator Jennifer Lietzke said. “He would also tell visitors how it was a school project” by Liz ’17, done while she was a student Mirman School.
Liz initially visited the plantation while on a family trip, as her extended family lives in South Carolina and the plantation was near to where they were staying. When she saw the original cotton mill, under construction, Liz took a picture.
“[The school] project was to make it surreal in some way and the rust stains on the roof made it look like piano keys,” Liz said, explaining that she created a “realistic drawing with shading and depth and everything except for the roof” using charcoal, eraser and blenders.
After Liz turned in her surreal drawing, her mother e-mailed the plantation telling them about the drawing. After seeing the a picture of the drawing, the plantation asked for the whole piece to put on display.
Liz said that she was not expecting to see her work in the center of the tour when she returned, as the original plan had been to place the drawing in the remodeled mill, a project that was never realized. When visiting the plantation again to see her work displayed, she said she felt happy and surprised.
“My mom was like, ‘Her art’s on display here,’ and [the tour guide was] like, ‘So you’re the one!’” she said. “Everyone knew who I was and treated me like a celebrity.” She even received free ice cream.
Surprisingly, for a girl with charcoal work on display out of state, Liz describes herself as a painter more than a drawer, and her favorite medium is watercolors.
“She obviously came [to Marlborough] with a lot of skills and a passion for art,” said visual arts instructor Chelsea Dean who taught Liz in Discovery this year. “She has really strong drawing skills and attention to detail and a willingness to learn.”
Liz is glad, she said, for the honor and publicity that comes with her work being displayed in such a public setting, and she wonders how many people have seen her work since it was first displayed. However, while she is happy to be getting her name out there, Liz is not positive that art will be her life’s calling.
“I’m keeping my options open,” she said. “I’m in 7th Grade. There’s no rush to decide what I’m going to be doing.”