STEVENSVILLE — Grace Hartlove is a 12-year-old, 7th grade artist at Stevensville Middle School. Her love for drawing began as early as first grade, watching her older sister draw. When she entered third grade she received her first sketchbook, and she often looks back into that sketchbook to see how much progress she’s made since then.

When Holly Schrader, Grace’s art teacher at Stevensville Middle, asked her which artists inspire her the most, Grace said “There are plenty of artists that inspire me, some my sister first found on YouTube that I also started watching. One of them is YouTuber Moriah Elizabeth, and another is ‘DrawingWiffWaffles’ that has lots of art and drawing related content. Most of them do art that is more of a cartoonish style and they make characters or use prompts and see what they can come up with.”

Art class is very important to Grace during COVID because it is one of the only ways she is able to learn how to do things like draw hands and how to perfect her shading.

“It helps keep me motivated to spend class time doing something I really like,” said Grace. “I really love drawing characters that I come up. Some are animals, real or fake. I enjoy coming up with my own characters and places and being able to make a storyline using my imagination. When I make these characters, I like to treat them as if they are a close friend and I know everything about them, like their favorite food, favorite color, likes, dislikes, friends, rivals…”

Grace said she would love to be able to do something arts related as a career in her future. Who knows, perhaps she might develop her own show using the characters she creates.

She also said, besides drawing, music is also an inspiration for her. In fact, the characters she has created were often born in her imagination while listening to a song. And if you know Grace, she’s always listening to music, and drawing.

“Grace deserves recognition for her art and for her fantastic-ness — as a student and as a person,” said Schrader.

Schrader should know. She’s been churning out some of the best middle school artwork in the state of Maryland, according to Michael Bell, supervisor of art. He said, Schrader has inspired her students to take visual journaling to another level during the pandemic.

“Mrs. Schader gets it,” Bell said. “She cares deeply about her students, and truly gets to know them. Grace’s story is inspiring, and I hope she follows her dreams. I know Mrs. Schrader will continue helping students fall in love with the art-making process through the exciting prompts and experiments she creates for them.

“It’s also a great testament to her that her principal, Sean Kenna, also showed up ‘virtually’ for the 2020 First Lady Virtual Gallery Exhibition to support her and the art students at Stevensville Middle. They’re onto something truly special in the arts at that school.”

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