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story.lead_photo.caption Emmaline Landes, a junior at EHS, poses beside one of her works that is displayed in the lobby of SAAC. Many of her acrylic paintings are available for sale and Landes said the money from selling her artwork goes to different charities that are close to her heart. - Photo by Terrance Armstard

Emmaline Landes, a junior at El Dorado High School, is celebrating her first solo exhibition called “Love and Reflections.”

The exhibit is currently calling the South Arkansas Arts Center lobby home with most of the pieces available for sale. The proceeds go to charity.

“It’s crazy,” Landes said. “I didn’t expect it to be so formal and pretty.”

Landes is an artist and started selling her work in 2013 through her own nonprofit called Heartworks. Through this project, any money she makes selling her artwork goes toward charities she cares about.

In her “Love and Reflections” collection, Landes used acrylic paint on canvas to create heart-focused pieces. Some of her paintings are hearts on their own while others include the faces of women covered or surrounded by hearts.

“I find inspiration for my art in the joy I feel in helping others,” Landes said. “I believe that an artist’s work is a representation of themselves and it’s my hope that my work reflects the light I feel from helping others. This exhibit is my way of passing the light along.”

Through her artwork, Landes has donated money to the Power of the Purse, Camp Fire, the El Dorado School District, the Agape House, Union County Animal Protection Society and the ALS Foundation.

“So I can help people,” Landes said. “I have a lot of friends and family members who have been in those situations so I know what’s it’s like.”

Landes said her age hasn’t played a big factor in her success. She said it doesn’t feel like anybody treats her differently because she’s still a student.

“I don’t think they’re looking at it like I don’t know as much,” Landes said. “I think they’re looking at it as ‘oh, she’s just starting early, she’s trying to do something.’ I’ve never had anybody do anything like that.”

Gallery: 'Love and Reflections' by Emmaline Landes

As a result of Heartworks and her donations, Landes was awarded the Presidential Volunteer Service Gold Medal and the Prudential Spirit of Community Bronze Medal in 2017.

Beyond her work in the art studio, Landes works with similar focus in all her academic and extra-curricular pursuits. She is a member of the National Honor Society, Arkansas Student Leadership Initiative, Beta Club, Junior Steering Committee, and serves as Treasurer of the Student Council, as well as a three-year letterman on the Varsity Cheer Team. Landes is also a member of Camp Fire and attends First Presbyterian Church, where she serves as Youth Elder.

“I love seeing Emme blossom,” said her mom, Shelly Landes. “I love seeing her heart just … she has such goodness and kindness and this is her way of expressing it.”

Landes’ work can be seen in the lobby gallery of SAAC throughout the month, with pieces for sale. Her artwork is also on permanent display at Fayrays Restaurant, the South Arkansas Arboretum and HOPE Landing.

Landes said she does plan on pursuing art after high school.

“I don’t know what I want to do,” she said. “But that’s all I’m good at so that’s what I want to do. That’s what I like to do. Everything else I’ve tried, like medical, I didn’t like that as much.”

Michael Shine may be reached at 870-862-6611 or mshine@eldoradonews.com. Follow him on Twitter and like him on Facebook @MichaelAZShine for updates on Union County school news.

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