By Nicole Matheson
Going on five decades, Lake Havasu City has become a fertile environment for both artists and the art they produce. Boasting a true melting pot of residents from across the nation and the world, Havasu has reflected not only the humanity of its population but it’s education as well.
Rina Draper-Gione, a senior at Lake Havasu High School, is an outward expression of the artistic support and inspiration found in this desert oasis.
“I am 18 years old and I have been living in Havasu for 11 years now. I am a senior at Lake Havasu High School and I have been invested in the art program for all four years of my high school career,” Draper-Gione said.
As with many artists, influences can often be traced back to their youth. Draper-Gione has vivid memories of what sparked her desire for art. “Art has always been something that I have showed a strong interest in, beginning from a young age. My family was a creative bunch; my great grandmother, Lorraine, was an artist, herself, as an oil painter. I believe she did play a role in my appreciation for art.”
One does not have to look too far from the Draper-Gione family tree to locate another influence.
“I’d say besides my great grandmother, my biggest inspiration is my grandmother, Lana. She was always my biggest supporter and best friend while growing up. My grandmother made sure that I knew I was capable of anything if I wanted it.”
Inspiration And Education
While at Lake Havasu High School, Draper-Gione has also found a support system to express her talents and shape them into a marketable skill. Ben Roberstson and Keven Bangsund, art teachers at LHHS, have been a source of inspiration beyond the home.
“Besides my family, I draw inspiration from one of my teachers/mentors, Ben Robertson. He has been a part of my high school art career since my freshman year. Robertson has always encouraged me to do better and even got me into graphic design and digital illustrations.”
Through the Career Technical Education (C.T.E.), a federally funded program at LHHS focusing on preparing students for the workforce by offering valuable industry certifications and experience, Draper-Gione found success at SkillsUSA, a state and national competition for C.T.E., in which students from across the nation compete against one another in their prospective fields.
“I have competed in SkillsUSA for Advertisement Design under the mentorship of both Ben Robertson and Kevin Bangsund from the high school. I received two silver medals within my two years of competition.”
Draper-Gione also participates in the Interact Club at Lake Havasu High School. Interact Club is a service club and is a part of Rotary International. As part of the Interact Club, she helped paint the Lake Havasu Rotary Club Haunted House along with other Interact students for a fundraiser.
“I joined Interact in middle school and it has stuck with me all the way until my Senior year. This year I was President of my club and along with that title came a lot of responsibility and authority. It was a lot of hard work but it means so much to me and I’m glad I was able to make a good standing relationship with the Rotary Club. I also attended RYLA this year and it was one of the best experiences of my life. Interact is more than a service club, its an amazing group of individuals that you can depend on and trust. I can’t wait to continue my service with Rotary,” Draper-Gione said.
Looking To The Future
Draper-Gione’s plan for the future is multifaceted as she graduated this year. “I definitely hope to carry my art into a future career in life. My main goal right now is to acquire a degree in Business Marketing; while also completing my fine art as a freelance artist. I am starting out at Mohave Community College in Lake Havasu and plan to transfer to a major university in the future.”
While this young artist is still maturing in her art she is on a journey to find her own style. “I believe I still need to find my exact style but I am definitely more on the contemporary-traditional side. My favorite mediums are acrylic paint, oil pastels and watercolor.”
More information on Draper-Gione’s artwork is available on her Instagram account @lxrraine_art