Words and Images by Jenny Lynn Davis
Sumiton Middle School student Abigail Fivas was recently accepted into the Alabama School of Fine Arts (ASFA) for her exceptional drawing skills. ASFA, located in Birmingham, is a state-funded public school that offers specialized education in the arts, math, and science to students with exceptional talent.
Abigail’s application process for ASFA had three phases. She was one of hundreds of applicants in the first phase, which involved submitting three specific pieces of art. In the second phase, Abigail was one of 28 applicants selected to participate in two 45-minute real-time drawing sessions, where she learned the prompts on-site. In the final phase, she was one of seven students selected to submit 24 pieces of previous artwork encompassing different genres and mediums. She also participated in a personal interview.
“It was pretty nerve-wracking and hard to wait for the results,” she says.
Abigail’s love for art started at a very young age. She began drawing when she was just two years old and is completely self-taught. In fact, her first formal art classes will occur when she begins school at ASFA in the fall.
“When she was a toddler, I handed her a pen and paper to keep her entertained during a car ride. She handed it back a little while later, and there was a perfectly drawn fish with fins, gills, and everything,” said Abigail’s mother, Jennifer Fivas. “That’s when I knew she had a gift.”
When Abigail toured ASFA, four things stood out to her: the diversity of the student population, the small student-to-teacher ratio, the encouragement of self-expression that provides a conducive environment for students to unleash their creativity, and the division of school days into general academics and individual fine art specializations.
“I think I’m really going to like it, and I’m excited to start there in the fall,” Abigail says.
Her mother adds that she is remarkably proud of Abigail’s endurance throughout the rigorous application process and says, “she’s very independent, intelligent, and responsible. I’m proud of who she is, and I am excited for this opportunity and how it will benefit her future.” WL