Student brings sunshine to N. Grove town hall

By Emily M. Hobbs

June 17, 2014

Stacy Potts, a rising 11th-grader at Hobbton High School, donated three pieces of artwork to the town of Newton Grove, with all three now on display, brightening up the government building.

“Ms. Jackson, my art teacher, asked me to to do it. She said that the city hall wanted some artwork. It took all semester to do it,” explained Potts in a telephone interview. The student also participated in other activities, like track, during the school year.

“Betty Bass called the art teacher, Jennifer Jackson, and asked her who could do a painting to update the town hall,” said Mayor Barbara Burch. Bass is the Assistant Town Clerk in Newton Grove who started in November of last year.

“Bass called right after she started (at the town hall),” said Burch. Burch said that she is thrilled to have the involvement of a local student artist, and that that artwork will make a wonderful addition to the town hall.

“I called Ms. Jackson,” added Betty Bass. “I said ‘Don’t you have someone who could do something?’” That someone is Potts, who has lived in the area on and off for years.

“I was brought up around farming,” Potts said, but noted that when asked to paint something that represented Sampson County, her thoughts didn’t turn to corn or other crops. Instead she thought something with ferns or flowers would be a better choice, and she decided to incorporate her subjects into the artwork while representing the seasons of the year. Even with her busy schedule, she managed to get three of the four seasons completed.

“I didn’t have the time to do them all, but I wish I had,” said Potts of her recently completed artwork.

Keeping it fresh and local were both two of her objectives in this project.

“I wanted birds that were native to Newton Grove and Sampson County,” she mentioned. “I liked how it could be something you’d see in Newton Grove.”

Looking forward, Potts has summer plans and plans to go beyond high school.

“I signed up for Art 3 next year, honors art,” she said. “And I have a scholarship from the Arts Council to participate in the arts camp.” She will be taking the jewelry class over the summer.

While art is a passion, she has plans to go into the medical field after high school and college. “I want to go to college to be a physical therapist,” Potts noted. She is involved in track, volleyball, is an honors student as well as her art classes.

Newton Grove Mayor Patricia Burch was thrilled with the artwork and praised the student’s efforts.

“We are glad to have Stacy back in our town after her being away for a few years,” Burch said, explaining that the young girl had moved away for a time but was back. “We appreciate her talent and time to improve the appearance of our town hall.”

“We were just so excited to get them,” added Betty Bass, the town’s assistant clerk. “I think the schools need to be involved with the town hall. We are just tickled to death.”

“We hung them in the hallway last week,” added town cerk Amanda Turner. The mayor and Commissioner Teresa Wilson rearranged some artwork and found a place for the paintings right outside the mayor’s office.

“We are going to see if she can do another one for fall,” Turner added.

“It’s very nice that she took the time to bring a little sunshine to town hall,” said Turner who will be putting something up with Potts’ name on it next to the pictures.

Potts has lived here since the seventh grade, and also spent two years here in the area in elementary school. She has a younger brother who will be going to middle school next year and an older sister who lives in Wilson. Her parents are Sonny and Pam Potts.

Emily M. Hobbs can be reached at 910-592-8137 ext. 122. Follow us on Twitter: @SampsonInd