Young Suffolk artist wins contest

Published 9:34 pm Friday, May 12, 2017

A 9-year-old Suffolk artist will have her work featured on T-shirts at an annual fundraising event this Saturday.

Sydney Wright, a third-grade student at Northern Shores Elementary School, won the T-shirt design competition for the 12th annual CHKD RunWalk for the Kids. Her design will be on all official RunWalk 2017 T-shirts for 8K run, 2-mile walk and 1-mile FunRun participants.

CHKD contacted her parents, Vincent and Taya, to tell them that the panel of judges chose their daughter’s artwork as the winning submission. Sydney cheered and danced when she found out herself.

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“I was so excited,” she said.

Her enthusiasm for gymnastics and running inspired the design she spent several evenings drafting and tweaking.

“I like to draw gymnastics, and I to draw kids running, because I also like to run,” she said.

She is a gold level student at World Class Gymnastics after four years of lessons. She ran at the CHKD RunWalk last year with her family, and they plan to do the same this year.

Her mile time for the FunRun last year was eight minutes and 30 seconds, according to Vincent.

“Somebody told me she was doing good keeping up with me, but I was like, ‘No, I’m keeping up with her,’” Vincent said.

Taya works in human resources at the Norfolk CHKD, on the same campus as Sentara Norfolk General. She described herself as an avid runner and is excited to come back to the race for a third time.

“I like that it gives you a chance to run in downtown Norfolk without worrying about the traffic,” she said. “It’s very well organized.”

Sydney’s parents were clear influences on her, with one influence being her mother’s exercise habits.

“She has asked on many occasions if she could run with me, and sometimes when I run, she follows me on her bike,” Taya said.

Sydney’s most prolific passion is her art. Her father is a freelance photographer and graphic designer, and he encouraged her creative habit early and often.

“I’ll be in the store buying supplies, but she’ll be like a kid in the candy store,” he said. “I always make it available to her.”

She has made hundreds of art pieces over the years, from self-portraits to dolls she knitted with her own hands. She gifts many of her pieces to friends and family.

“People tell me that they have her work at their desks and they look at her work every day,” Vincent said.

There are art classes at her school on Mondays, but that’s not enough for her creative pursuits.

“If I finish my work early at school, I get more time to draw,” she said.

The art gives her the opportunity to have fun and express herself with no constraints.

“It’s fun to do, and you can be creative and nobody has to tell you what to do,” Sydney said.

Her parents expect close to a thousand participants at the Norfolk race like last year, and they’re excited to see their daughter’s art all over the crowds.

“That’s a thousand T-shirts,” Vincent said. “It’s going to be flooded with her T-shirt.”