Woodard’s artwork brings in some funding for CCHS drama
By James Grob, firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles City High School junior Lily Woodard was disappointed.
She used that disappointment to fuel success — and help out her school district.
Her drawing of cast members in the latest high school play was recently sold, with the majority of the money going back to the school’s drama department.
Woodard has been in several plays over the years — performing in roles large and small — and has taken her acting talent to all-state speech competition five times already. So she was expecting to be awarded one of the six or seven major roles in Charles City High School’s recent spring production of the stage play “Clue.”
It didn’t happen. After auditions, Woodard was told she had received a small role, with little stage time. Her friends and castmates had been given the main parts in the play.
“When I found out I got one of the really small parts, I talked with (drama director) Mrs. (Michelle) Grob about it,” Woodard said. “My main disappointment was I was not going to be able to make much of an impact with such a small role. I wanted to be able to help out and contribute in some way, even though I wasn’t going to be one of the lead roles.”
Woodard has additional artistic talent beyond acting. Among other endeavors, she paints, makes jewelry — and she specializes in drawing realistic portraits. She’s sold a few, and given some away.
Woodard decided she would draw a black-and-white portrait of six of the play’s main characters and see if she could sell the finished piece to raise a little money for CCHS drama.
She said that a lot of people don’t realize how much money it can cost for a school district’s speech and drama departments to acquire the rights to perform a well-known play or musical.
“It’s very expensive for the copyright,” Woodard said. “Last speech season, we wanted to do a scene from the female version of ‘Odd Couple,’ but we couldn’t, because it was around $150 per each performance. That’s just not realistic with the speech budget.”
Woodard’s initial idea was to make a drawing of the Clue game board, with small portraits of her classmates as the main characters, but that idea evolved.
“I discovered that six people on a little game board wouldn’t work well, you couldn’t get much detail,” she said. “So I decided to do a bigger portrait of the six main characters.”
Grob posted a photo of the finished artwork online last week, and there was immediate interest. An offer of $150 was quickly accepted. Woodard will keep some of that money to cover her time and material expenses, but the rest will go to the drama department.
“I was fully intending for it all to go to the drama department, but Mrs. Grob insisted that since I put over 28 hours into it that it would be appropriate to get some money back,” Woodard said.
She said she drew characters from photos of her cast mates, but had to imagine the costumes.
“I drew them, then I saw them in their costumes after I had drawn them,” she said. “It felt strange, seeing what I had drawn walking around on the stage.”
Woodard draws most of her portraits from photos, and if anyone is interested in her services, she might be willing to negotiate. She said she can be contacted by email at email@example.com.
She’s already receiving offers, and it’s possible this project could become a marketable one for Woodard. When asked if she preferred drawing or acting, she said because of her love of improvisational performance, Woodard’s dream career would be to be the “next Carol Burnett.”
“That would be amazing,” she said.
Short of that dream job, however, Woodard said she would find any career in the arts satisfying.
“Something in art — maybe something in theater,” she said. “I have lots of ideas. There are lots of art forms where you can be successful and practical.”