Bennett Elementary student takes first place at Lubbock Arts Festival

A kindergarten student at Bennett Elementary School won first place with his entry in the Lubbock Arts Festival in the kindergarten-through-second grade category.

Steven Runyan, 7, won with a picture of a three-eyed monster.

His mother, Kim Runyan, and teacher, Rebecca West, are not sure if he really understands what the blue ribbon he received means.

Steven has Down syndrome and talks very little. He says a few words, like “ok” and “yeah.”

But he also cheerfully identifies the artworks of his friends in the halls of Bennett Elementary School.

His mother and teacher both say that’s because he loves art.

“It’s his favorite,” West said. “He loves to go to art class.”

Although Steven attends her class part of the day, he also attends art, music and library in mainstream classes.

Last Friday, he clung to West’s leg in an affectionate hug before trying to drag her down the hall with all of the enthusiasm of a kindergarten boy.

Kim said art motivates her son to behave well, but he tends to get a little messy in the process.

“I always know when it’s art day,” she said, laughing that he comes home with paint all over himself.

Kim said she was surprised when she found out he had won an award.

“We had not seen the picture,” she said.

Still, when the family went to the Lubbock Memorial Civic Center, Steven led the way to his painting.

“He was very proud to show us his picture,” she said.

Steven began taking an interest in art at age 3 and began art and music classes, which he also loves, at 4. He also loves to look at books and be read to.

“We’re pretty proud of him,” Kim said.

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