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Talented Tween of Castle Pines: Spotlight Hadley Bess

Hadley Bess is hard at work on an acrylic painting depicting three coy fish swimming in and out of a circular pool of water.


By Liz Rector; photos by Kelsea Fischer

Bubbly and enthusiastic, Hadley Bess’ energy is one of positivity and happiness. A fifth-grader at American Academy Castle Pines, Bess’ artwork was recently featured in the Douglas County School District Visual Arts Show. Her piece was up against hundreds of other entries and took home the “Best of Show 2D (4-6)” award.

When asked how she became interested in art, Bess turned to her mother. “We have specials, so I take art at school, but my mom signed me up for art club. In art club we learn to do many different things. Plus, there’s another advanced club where we can choose projects, and the teacher helps us with whatever we need.”

For the show, Bess’ art teacher, Kelsea Fischer, selected a work that Bess did depicting a zentangle (intricate patterns/designs) drawing of a pineapple with an acrylic paint background.

One question posed to Bess was, “how did you come up with the idea for your piece?” To which she replied, “in art club one time, I didn’t know what to make and I saw an elephant, so I drew the elephant with a bunch of designs inside it. For this project though, a lot of kids were doing food-related drawings, so I picked a pineapple, researched some designs, and changed them up to work in my pineapple, then I painted the wood background.”

Center, Bess’ award-winning zentangled pineapple can be seen hanging proudly at the DCSD Art Show.

At the show, onlookers strolled from one display to another, taking in the results of students’ hard work and dedication. The competition was fierce, and both students and teachers took pride in the fact that the work had made it this far. As an art teacher with hundreds of students, it can be a challenge to pinpoint students’ talents and interests and prompt them to create their best work.

“Hadley Bess has always been an extremely talented artist,” said American Academy Castle Pines art teacher Mrs. Fischer. “This year she has joined advanced art club and completely found her way in the art world. Hadley has been creating a portfolio that has inspired everyone around her. Building a portfolio at Hadley’s age is extremely rare. I think it is safe to say that Hadley has a great path ahead in art and I cannot wait to see where she goes from here.”

The Art Show, which took place April 6 – 9, included works of all mediums from students in kindergarten through 12th grade. There were numerous pieces of art and only a handful of ribbons given out. Judges carefully deliberated, considering creativity just as much as technical skill in their decision to give out awards.

While Bess is a budding artist, she has other hobbies and interests as well. Her favorite classes include history and science. And as a native Coloradan whose mother is a ski instructor, Hadley also enjoys skiing, lacrosse, and being outdoors.

“I’m very proud of her,” mom Lynda Bess added. “Hadley is very smart, creative, and talented.”

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