The Student Voice of Coastal Carolina University



Power of paint: All-female lineup dominates student art competition

Bryanna Warner
The three students’ artwork is on display at the Myrtle Beach International Airport. From left to right: “Carolina Wren with Yellow Jessamine” by Miley Watts won first place, followed by “Otterly” by Rylee O’Leary and “Coastal Turtle” by Arella Elmore.

The Myrtle Beach International Airport conducted its student art competition for the 2022-2023 academic year, which was dominated by all female students from Horry County. 


The artists captured flora and fauna representing the state, the theme for the competition. Three winners and two honorable mentions were chosen to be displayed in the MYR airport for Myrtle Beach residents and tourists to enjoy. 


“Carolina Wren with Yellow Jessamine” by Miley Watts won first place, followed by “Otterly” by Rylee O’Leary and “Coastal Turtle” by Arella Elmore. 

Close-up of first place painting “Carolina Wren” by Miley Watts. (Keller Goldstein)

Watts, a junior at Socastee High School, drew inspiration from the Carolina Wren living in her garage and the yellow jessamine in her backyard. She sees these elements as symbols of coexistence between flora, fauna and humanity in South Carolina. Although Watts doesn’t plan to pursue art as a full-time career, she commissions pieces as a hobby. 


With the support from her county, Watts feels empowered to continue her artistry for enjoyment. 


“It’s scary and cool [having ‘Carolina Wren with Yellow Jessamine’ on display]. Winning makes me feel like I can actually succeed in pursuing art in the future. So, it gives me more of a push to do that,” Watts said.  


O’Leary, a junior at the Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology (AAST), has lived near the Waccamaw River in South Carolina for 10 years. The river’s resident otters fascinated O’Leary, inspiring her piece “Otterly.” She dedicated approximately four months to its creation as part of her art major at AAST. 


Her hard work paid off in second place, boosting her confidence for future endeavors. 


“Now I can try to work with higher level competitions and try to put my art in bigger and bigger areas. So, it helped me kind of figure out how to weigh my art and how to start working for higher goals and achievements,” she said. 


O’Leary began her artistic journey as a hobby in elementary school, drawing inspiration from animals and her surroundings. She praised AAST for providing an outlet for her art to improve and enabling her to paint subjects close to her heart. 


Elmore, a junior at North Myrtle Beach High School, is passionate about marine biology and art, evident in her piece “Coastal Turtle.” She plans to pursue both interests in college, with Coastal Carolina University as one of her prospective choices.  


Elmore expressed fulfillment within her award, participating in the competition, and being among fellow female artists in the area.  


“It feels pretty good that I had the opportunity to join the competition and get top three,” she said. 

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About the Contributors
Bryanna Warner
Bryanna Warner, Managing Editor
Hi! I’m Bryanna Warner, a Surfside Beach local and junior at Coastal Carolina University.   I’m so thrilled to be doing what I love as the Managing Editor of The Chanticleer.    I’m a communication major with a concentration in interactive journalism. I enjoy the beach, yoga and traveling!   I aspire to write commercials and also news anchor. Let’s do this! 
Keller Goldstein
Keller Goldstein, Photographer
Hey there,  I’m Keller and I am beyond stoked to be the official photographer for The Chanticleer I am from Saint Louis, Missouri, and studying to get my BFA in theatre arts with a concentration in physical theatre here at CCU.   Aside from studying Physical Theatre, I am passionate about writing and producing music, directing, writing plays, traveling, film and cinematography, and of course, photography!    Although I got my start in concert, editorial, and conceptual photography, I have absolutely loved exploring the world of photojournalism this past semester and I look forward to showing you our school through my lens!

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