Avery Sauers’ life has been anything but ordinary. Never taking the adversities life has thrown at her as an excuse, she has cleared her own path to her ultimate passion: digital art.
Born deaf, the 16-year-old Williamsport Area High School junior’s interest in digital art grew out of her love of cartoons and video games – an interest cultivated and nurtured by her parents and teachers that now drives her towards a career in animation or game design.
The young artist was recently accepted into the inaugural Summer Art and Design Institute (SADI) at Moore College of Art and Design in Philadelphia. The four-week pre-college summer program will provide Sauers with the opportunity to explore popular study tracks on credit, including animation, illustration, painting and game design.
“Art has been and continues to be the medium through which I can express myself to others and to the world”, Sauers said according to a press release. “It gave me a voice to share my opinions and the way I see and experience the world.”
“We knew something was wrong when she was just a few months old,” her mother, Erin, remembers. “We didn’t know this at birth due to an unknown reason for passing the hearing screening at Williamsport Hospital.”
At 9 months, after months of doctor’s appointments, Sauers was diagnosed with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, qualifying her as a candidate for cochlear implants to help her hear.
“We did a lot of research and decided to start the process when she was 1 year old,” Erin said.
Sauers had her first implant surgery at 21 months, followed by a second at 35 months. She continues to use cochlear implants to this day.
“Life is not easy, but if you work hard and believe in yourself, anything is possible” said Sauer. “Each person with hearing loss is unique, with their own needs and best learning environment. I am grateful to the supportive teachers at WASD who recognize not only my challenges, but my potential.
The high schooler, who also plays the saxophone and piano, already has a running list of awards at fairs and art exhibitions.
“My brain works creatively, so drawing has always felt comforting and exciting,” she said according to a press release. “It became an escape, and that escape quickly turned into my passion and my desire for excellence.”
Although self-taught in some ways, Sauers said she was grateful for the guidance she received from her teachers to ensure she did well in high school and beyond.
“Ms. (Carrie) Bosch is the teacher who I believe really recognized my talent and provided me with the encouragement I needed at a crucial time,” said Sauer.
“I have seen WASD’s visual arts program help Avery develop his skills as an artist in many ways,” Erin said, citing her daughter’s middle and high school teachers and her flexible hours as contributing factors to her developing talent. “Everything the WASD Visual Arts program has done will help Avery gain the skills to build a strong portfolio as well as an excellent academic record to apply to the best art schools on the East Coast.”
“I hope I can create things that I am proud of and that can inspire or bring joy to others,” Sauer said, “Just like how these things inspired me and made me happy when I was younger.”
To help cover tuition and SADI fees, Sauers plans to hold two fundraising events at Eat-and-Run Catering, 1000 Commerce Park Drive. At her first event, Bold Beginnings, she will lead attendees in painting a landscape beginning at 6:30 p.m. on March 31. The second event will take place from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on April 10. This event will include an Italian dinner, a raffle basket, an auction of his original paintings and a 50/50 drawing.