Every high school student finds a passion. Some show their athletic abilities on sports fields, some flex their talent on the stage. For 17-year old Taylor Vlassis, her passion is her drawing, painting and any type of artwork that she could think of.

Vlassis is currently a senior at Lackawanna Trail High School, and she was recently given a big task. Vlassis is putting her artistic skills to the test by painting a mural on the windows of the Steak ‘n Shake restaurant at Keystone College in Factoryville.

Vlassis said that she was given this opportunity by her art teacher, Mary Belle Gilroy.

“My art teacher said in class one day that Keystone was looking for students to paint murals at Steak n ’Shake,” Vlassis said. “I was the first one that she called, and I was like that’s an awesome opportunity.”

Vlassis shows up a couple times a week to give the windows a taste of fall. She goes straight from school with her brushes and paint to get to work. Her choice of mural, a nice fall display.

“I chose a fall themed painting with pumpkins, sunflowers, scarecrows, hay bails, the main things that you see in Fall,” Vlassis said. “If you drive anywhere around here, you see stuff like that all over people’s houses.”

Vlassis has had a passion for art for as long as she can remember, she said that drawing is one of the first things that she remembers doing as a small child. When Vlassis started school, she realized that she found a talent. Art was one of her favorite parts of school.

“It was really one of the only things that I was really good at,” Vlassis said. “I was never the best math student, the best English student, I always looked forward to art the most. In school, I was always drawing on my papers and notebooks instead of actually doing work.”

Vlassis has taken such an interest in art, that it is something she wishes to pursue in her future studies. She wants to study Fine Arts in college with two specific schools on her mind. Her first choices are the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., and the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore.

“I have applied to early admissions at Pratt,” Vlassis said. “And I can’t wait to hear back from them, I’m hoping because it’s my first choice.”

Vlassis has many inspirations for how she draws and paints, but her biggest inspirations are the artists who paved the way for young artists today.

“I look up to all of the classic artists, especially Vincent van Gogh,” Vlassis said. “You can say that they broke the rules of painting. If it wasn’t for all the classic people, we wouldn’t have the works that we have today.”

Vlassis says that her biggest challenge is “artists block”, when an artist just can’t think of what to work on for her next project, something that she says has been fighting with the past couple months.

“Since this pandemic started, artists block has hit me hard,” Vlassis said. “This project is actually really helping me get out of it, and I am grateful for the opportunity to do this.”

Vlassis wishes that people will feel a little joy when they walk by her art at Keystone College and hopes to work on more of these types of projects in the future.

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