Student turns her summer break into an art adventure

Artist Taylor Cosio displays her work in the Islamorada exhibition.

Taylor Cosio, a seventh grade student in the Art Magnet Program at Southwood Middle School used part of her summer vacation with her family in the Florida Keys to enter a popular monthly outdoor art exhibition designed for grownups.

The talented young artist proved she was not only good enough to be allowed to exhibit her work there, she also was good enough to sell quite a bit of her art in the process.

Taylor said she is glad she made the effort to exhibit.

“My family and I enjoy attending all of the different art festivals throughout South Florida,” Taylor said, speaking the first week back to school. “While on Spring Break in the Keys last year, we attended the Morada Way Art Walkabout in Islamorada. The Walkabout is held on the third Thursday of each month. At that time, I told my parents that I wanted to have my own booth and to show my work at the Walkabout. My mom contacted the Morada Way Art and Cultural Council and they allowed me to exhibit at the June 2012 Walkabout.”

Taylor has loved art, especially drawing and painting, as far back as she can remember. She enrolled in her first real art class at age 8.

“My favorite medium is black and white pencil,” Taylor said. “I also like working with oil pastels and acrylic paints.”

Taylor’s mother, Julie Cosio, was not greatly surprised by her daughter’s determination, or her success. Still, she had not fully expected what happened.

“In her first show in June, Taylor selected 10 of her art pieces for her booth,” Julie Cosio said. “She made five prints of each piece and sold them for $10 apiece. By the end of the show, she had sold 14 prints and even sold out of one piece completely. Taylor displayed her work again at the August Walkabout and sold six prints at that show. She plans on displaying at future Walkabouts in the coming months as well.” When Taylor returned to school on Aug. 20 and told her teachers in the art magnet program about what she did on her summer vacation, they were as proud of her as her mother.

“Taylor is a little dynamo,” art teacher Leslie McKinley said. “No matter what the challenge is, she exudes energy.”

Magnet art teacher and PTSA teacher liaison Jenifer Berse agreed with that view.

“Taylor is just one of those special young artists who, from the moment she came into the art magnet program in sixth grade, wants to push the artistic envelope, so to speak,” Berse said. “She always has great ideas to add to projects, and her energy and enthusiasm for art shine through in all of her artwork. Mrs. McKinley and I are so fortunate to have her in our program.”

Magda R. Pereira, the new principal at Southwood Middle School, also was impressed with the young artist.

“Taylor is a true gem…and a ‘Super Star’ at heart,” Pereira said. “We are enchanted to have her at Southwood Middle School as a seventh grader this year. Her talent is exceptional. She is a true artist, and a role model for our magnet students.”

Taylor, meanwhile, is undecided about whether she will choose art as a career or just as something that she enjoys doing.

“I love art and know that it will always be a part of my life,” Taylor said. “As far as a career choice, I’m still keeping my options open.”

Her proud mom is glad to support her daughter in her efforts, and also finds her a source of inspiration. “Taylor is a highly driven and energetic young girl,” Julie Cosio said. “When she sets her mind on a goal, she will work tenaciously to achieve it. As her parents, we have had a great time just trying to keep up with her. She is our daily reminder that life should be lived fully, and we always try to support her and help her succeed.

“The art magnet program at Southwood has been a phenomenal experience for her and has really helped to develop her talent. In this age of budget cuts, it’s refreshing to see a school that is focused on preserving both the visual and performing arts for the children in our community.”

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