Maggie Borota, 18,is the daughter of Brian and Shelly Borota of DeWitt. She intends to attend Clinton Community College in the fall, where she will study art.

Central DeWitt High School graduate Maggie Borota not only loves to create art, she also loves to celebrate it with others.

It’s why she has been spending her afternoons helping to paint a mural at Friendship Manor, an assisted living facility in Rock Island, Illinois.

It’s also why the 18-year-old daughter of Brian and Shelly Borota, of DeWitt, eventually intends to open her own storefront.

There, she will sell and display her work and teach classes to share her love for her craft with people who want to discover and hone their own artistic skills.

Borota’s first order of business, however, will be to attend Scott Community College in the fall, where she will earn her associate’s degree in art.

She’ll continue her education with help of scholarship funding, including from the Elvis And Evelyn Wieck Fine Arts Scholarship.

Maggie said her love of art began at a young age.

“When I was little, I always liked art class,” she related. “Ever since elementary school, my teachers have encouraged me to keep doing it. By middle school, I was enjoying it a lot more and watching videos of people making art and spending more of my time sketching and practicing.”

According to her high school art teacher, Cassie Dunlavey, Borota’s tenacity and talent garnered her many district, regional and state honors in art shows and contests. Her work was selected for Central DeWitt’s conference art show all four years of high school, and as a junior, she was awarded the Best of Show 2D.

Borota also was selected to display her work at Clarke University and Clinton Community College.

“… she was a student of mine in several studio art courses,” Dunlavey noted. “Maggie challenged herself to take AP (Advanced Placement) studio art class and several other honors and college-level classes her senior year, while maintaining an impressive 4.0 GPA and class rank of 1/111.”

Dunlavey also credited Borota for being instrumental in creating the school’s National Honor Art Society chapter, which promotes visual arts in the district and community.

“It’s a really cool opportunity for the school to have,” Borota said of the organization. “It’s important to have a club that’s supportive of arts in the school and in our community.”

In addition to devoting her time to her art at Central DeWitt, Borota also participated in speech contest, band, track and was a member of the set crew for plays and musicals, using her creative abilities to help design and build sets.

Borota said she is thankful to Dunlavey for her support and encouragement, as well as her parents and her friends.

She advised upcoming high school students to try new things while there, and to take full advantage of the variety of opportunities the school has to offer.

And if anyone’s friends think they’re being “silly” or “stupid” for taking on different activities, Borora asks, “So what?”

Right now, Borota is spending her third-consecutive summer as part of the Quad City Metro Arts youth apprenticeship program painting murals throughout the Quad City area.

Maggie said she counts it as an opportunity among many that has helped her grow — not just as a person, but also as an artist.

“I’ve met a lot of new people,” she shared. “From the Quad City area (and) from all over, and that’s been pretty cool. I’ve never had the opportunity to work on that big of a scale. It’s been cool to work with other artists and see how our ideas collaborate together. It’s been a neat experience.”