Sumter's Next Generation, presented by CCTC: Wilson Hall’s Rhayne Owens charts dual path of art and medical aspirations


In the world of aspiring doctors, prerequisites in biology, chemistry and anatomy are the norm. But what about an art class?

Wilson Hall senior Rhayne Owens, native to Sumter, has a flourishing reputation as an artist at the age of 17 and hopes to lend those talents to the world of medicine one day.

Her artistic journey started at age 12 thanks to the captivating cartoons and animations on her TV screen. DC and Marvel cartoons and movies fueled her creative spirit, motivating her to pick up a pencil and draw a doodle of her own. Over time, her canvas grew to know no bounds, as she expertly switches between traditional and digital mediums to capture moments in her reality or explore the depths of her wildest fantasies.

Owens’ talent has not gone unnoticed. This February, mere months away from the end of her junior year, she won first place in the drawing division in the South Carolina Independent School Association State Art Competition.

“That piece was a very personal one to me, so it made me really happy to see it recognized because I feel like I accomplished my desire to tell a story,” she explained. “That piece tells a story about me, about who I am, what I enjoy, my beliefs. For that to be recognized as an award-winning piece, it means a lot to me.”

On a local level, she’s often commissioned to do artwork from those who adore her skills, a pastime she considers both relaxing and rewarding. Managing schoolwork alongside her art career is no small feat, but Owens gets it done, and one day it’ll all pay off.

“I plan to become a plastic surgeon,” Owens said happily. “It’s kind of connected to my love of art because with both art and plastic surgery, you need a very keen hand; you need a careful eye for noticing subtle details.”

Her biggest influences on her future in medicine stem from her mother, a former hospital administrator, and father, a nurse. Their oath to help those during their greatest time of need rubbed off on the young artist and is now a driving force behind her current and future studies.

Tara Schumacher, Owens’ art teacher, swells with pride at the young creative’s desire to marry her two passions — and appreciates Wilson Hall’s ability to allow her to explore both. Having known Owens since her elementary school days, she has gotten a front-row seat to watch her blossom from a shy, soft-spoken student into a passionate, personable artist.

In her final year at Wilson Hall, Rhayne plans to make many strides in chartering her dual path to success. For now, she encourages her fellow Barons and students across Sumter County to take their own strides and be open to what lies ahead.

“Be open to constructive criticism from your peers, and definitely be open to sharing your work,” she shared. “I was very hesitant with sharing a lot of my pieces, and I think that probably hindered my development as an artist. But when I entered my art class and I was surrounded by my peers, having them look on, encouraging me, and they also offered me advice, I would say that has helped me improve as an artist.”

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