For Jenna Hurst, drawing started out as a simple goal for Personal Progress, a program for young women of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to help them “cultivate feminine attributes, strengthen their testimony, and reach their divine potential.”
While Jenna had always been interested in art, she never fully attempted to make her own drawings until she set the goal to do so for this program. Now, just four years later, at age 16, this sophomore at Canyon Del Oro High School in Tucson, Arizona is winning local as well as regional awards for her work.
In June, Congressman, Ron Barber presented Hurst with the grand prize for the Congressional Art Competition for Arizona District 2. The painting of Hurst’s brother, Zachary, is now on display in the Capitol Building, which he says foreshadows where he himself will be in the future.
On another occasion, Jenna’s painting of Ty and Dr. Dorothy Woods was presented to Dr. Woods, the guest of honor at the Tucson Compact for America Liberty Dinner. Ty Woods, a Navy SEAL, was killed by protesters at the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya in 2012.
“Jenna likes drawing people,” said her mother, SueAnn Hurst. Incorporating the subject’s personality into her art is one way that Hurst connects with the people she draws. She has the ability to take something simple and make it intricate. “She sees things that we don’t see,” her mother explained. SueAnn also noted that Jenna’s art “brings out the beauty of nature or people.”
Through pen, pencil, or paint, Jenna has created pieces that reflect her faith in Jesus Christ and his Gospel. Her portraits of Jesus Christ and of Church leaders such as President Gordon B. Hinckley speak to the viewer of the subject’s personality, their love and kindness.
Bertha (Boots) Grabowski has known Jenna since she was a child and adores her artwork. When part of her house was on fire, Ms. Grabowski made sure to grab the picture of Christ that Jenna had drawn for her before leaving the building. As with Grabowski, Jenna’s art builds the faith of those who view it.
Jenna hopes for a future as an artist. She has already done many commissioned pieces, and hopes to sell prints of her work. Her most spirited ambition is to go on an artist’s tour in Paris. While there, she will study the masters and paint in Monet’s garden.
Jenna plans to major in art. She wants to go into art therapy to help the elderly or veterans.