Blalack MS eighth-grader featured on side of DART bus after winning student art contest

Sophia Wilson, Blalack MS eighth-grade student, was named the overall “Best of Show” winner for her work in the 2023 Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) student art contest. Wilson’s piece was selected from more than 100 submissions from students across the Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex to be featured on DART buses.

The theme for the contest, “Go Here. Go There. Go Everywhere!” was released in February. K-12 students who entered the contest submitted  an 11x17 piece of work using a variety of mediums that showcased the theme of exploring Dallas via DART travel. Wilson had four weeks to complete her piece. She used a combination of pen and watercolor paints to create the finished product. 

“I had a vision in my head for what I wanted it to look like,” said Wilson. “I put everything into a sketch and used reference photos for inspiration. I wanted to make sure I highlighted the theme by including popular attractions in Dallas such as the aquarium, zoo and the Perot museum.”

Wilson is an emerging young artist who has already achieved many artistic endeavors. She has won multiple medals at the Texas State Fair art contest, and has placed in a variety of other competitions. Since 2021, she has entered the DART student art contest and her work has been featured each year in the winner’s gallery. She won first place in sixth grade and second place in seventh grade for the middle school category.

During Wilson’s sixth-grade year, an author visiting the Love Field airport noticed her work among other DART winners on display and contacted Dr. Keith Davis, Principal of Blalack MS. Davis connected Wilson with the author and she is currently in the process of illustrating his book that will be published in the near future.

“I have Mrs. Hayward to thank for introducing me to the contest and helping me with my art skills along the way,” said Wilson. "I definitely have my mom to thank as well. She kept me motivated and pushed me to complete the project. It was a lot of work.”

Blalack MS eighth-grader featured on side of DART bus after winning student art contest

In addition to Wilson’s work being featured on DART buses, she received a $2,000 cash prize at the Dallas Museum of Art (DMA) awards ceremony on May 20. Her piece, along with the other contest gallery winners, will be available for viewing at the DMA until June 10. Pieces from the gallery are also on display at the DFW Love Field airport and other DART locations. 

Five CFBISD students submitted work that was chosen for gallery inclusion:

  • Krisha Bhagat – First Grade (First Place), McCoy ES

  • Pranav K. Vemireddy – First Grade (Third Place), McCoy ES

  • Srithan Sai Arudala – First Grade (Honorable Mention), McCoy ES

  • Samanvi Arudala – Sixth Grade (Third Place), Perry MS

  • Diya Vemireddy – Eighth Grade (Honorable Mention), Perry MS

“Sophia is naturally talented and competitive and has a great future in the arts no matter what path she chooses,” said Jessica Hayward, Blalack MS art teacher, “She is gifted in digital, 2D and 3D art.  I will miss having her in my class but I am excited to see what she accomplishes in the future.”

DART offers an annual student art contest that is open to students of all grade levels throughout North Texas. It has grown to be one of the agency’s most popular Education Outreach events. To learn more about the contest, please visit their DART website.