shhs art winner

The work of an art student at Sylvan Hills High School is gaining widespread attention and once you see it, you'll understand why.

In a Sylvan Hills High School art room is where you'll find 17-year-old Mikki Young. In this space, color is her therapy.

"Drawing for me has become a way to express myself and to keep myself calm," Young said.

Her pencil strokes breathe life onto paper and canvas.

"The process of being able to make things, I find very satisfying," she said.

But it's her oil painting of a pair of hands that's touching hearts.

"When you look at a person's face, they'll tell you one thing," Young said. "But if you look at a person's hands, they'll really tell you the story of their life."

And this story is beautiful.

"Those hands have given a lot of hugs," she said. "I think I captured some of the warmth that are in those hands."

The wrinkles and folds belong to Mikki's grandfather, Ray Snyder. Just an everyday moment in his favorite armchair is now frozen in time.

The masterpiece title? So simple.

"I've just been calling it Paw Paw's Hands," Young said.

The 30 hours of work she spent capturing this brief moment in time has paid off. "Paw Paw's Hands" won Mikki a $20,000 scholarship.

"I was so excited," Young said. "My mom cried."

The painting has even earned her recognition at the state's highest level. State Representative Carlton Wing honored Mikki's achievement at the State Capitol.

Mikki Young and her family pose for a photo after being honored at the State Capitol. (Photo: Pulaski County Special School District)

And it doesn't stop there.

"Paw Paw's Hands" has reached more than 300,000 people on social media.

"I think it comes down to personal connection," Young said.

Certainly, it's the talent in these young hands that makes this painting impressive, but more than that perhaps it's because we all know someone we wish would live forever, and taking time to notice and appreciate is what makes this work of art extraordinary.

Mikki said she plans to attend the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. She hopes to eventually work in art galleries or go into art conservation.