Art passion connects two talented graduates

Art passion connects two talented graduates
Posted on 06/09/2016

(L-R) Hanna Starnes and Morgan Honeycutt
in the art studio of Hickory High

Art passion connects

two talented graduates

They could be sisters. Not the same parents, mind you, but there’s a connection beyond being members of the class of 2016 at Hickory High.

Early on, Morgan Honeycutt, 18, and Hanna Starnes, 17, both discovered a passion for visual arts. One chose oils and the other chose watercolors. One ventured in theatre performance while the other ventured in violin performance.

And then these two artists met at Hickory High during their freshman year. By their sophomore year, the artists had become close friends and one another’s cheerleader for pursuing their artistic passions.

Honeycutt and Starnes have studied art through Hickory’s International Baccalaureate art program. The class has allowed them to deepen their appreciation for art through the academic arena.  According to their IB art teacher, Teresa Bentley, both students have been blessed with an artistic gift.  “Hanna uses a scientific eye to examine every detail of her subject,” said Bentley, “and Morgan has an amazing ability to bring her human subject to life on canvas.”

Honeycutt began to seriously pursue art in the fourth grade when she was requested to draw animals for a school project “I found out I really liked drawing animals, but as time passed, I preferred drawing people—with a concentration on their hands and faces,” she said.

While a freshman at Hickory High, Honeycutt’s passion for art helped to ignite the opening of her portrait business. The business continues to do well and potentially will provide financial support during her college years—and a future career.   

The daughter of Brad and Cynthia Honeycutt, Morgan Honeycutt plans to attend Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, VA this fall. “I will study painting and printmaking,” said Honeycutt. “Virginia Commonwealth is considered the number one public art school in the nation and I am really excited about the opportunities to enhance my painting,” she said.

Starnes, on a whim, took private art classes when she was around seven or eight. “My instructor took me outside to her garden with beautiful blooms.  A rose became my first subject for watercolor painting,” said Starnes. “I went crazy with the explosion of color and I still have that painting today.”

During the middle school years, Starnes served as an assistant to her art teacher. She continued to explore painting during private time in addition to working with clay sculpting.  Starnes also frequented a local business in downtown Hickory where she could paint and work with ceramics.

The daughter of Billy and June Starnes, Hanna will attend UNC - Chapel Hill this fall to study bio-medical engineering. “I plan to continue with art on the side as a hobby. Watercolors have been an important part of my journey and I will find a way to retain my passion for painting,” she said.

And to enhance the artsy side of life, both students continued with artistic performance during their high school years. Honeycutt performed on stage with various theatrical roles and Starnes played violin in the HHS orchestra.

As friends, these two artists have served as continual support for one another. “Hanna has incredibly good attention to detail,” said Honeycutt.

“Seeing Morgan’s art pieces have inspired me to paint more. She has actually helped me more than any teacher throughout my journey,” said Starnes.

While Honeycutt and Starnes will travel in two different directions this fall, the two friends plan to visit each other at their respective colleges.  “Our connection clearly goes beyond the paint on a canvas,” said Starnes.

Honeycutt agreed:  “The arts simply have a way of bringing people together.”



View artwork below by the two HHS senior artists:


Art by Hanna Starnes



Art by Morgan Honeycutt


(Article by Beverly Snowden,
HPS director of communications)

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