Spotlight: Emily Paz has a passion for art

Artist Emily Paz, 10, a fourth-grader at Carl Cozier Elementary School, displays one of her works.
Artist Emily Paz, 10, a fourth-grader at Carl Cozier Elementary School, displays one of her works. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

Emily Paz quickly realized what a challenge it would be to draw her own face.

Emily, a 10-year-old fourth-grader at Carl Cozier Elementary School, wasn’t drawing for a regular class. She spends a lot of time pursuing her passion for art during a volunteer after-school enrichment program.

“I was nervous because I had never drawn something that big,” she said of her large canvas. “The nose was really challenging. But when my teacher explained, I told myself, ‘I could probably do that.’”

Over two one-hour sessions, she met that challenge and then some, using a mirror (unusual for a young artist) along with a variety of thick tissue color squares and a black Sharpie pen to ink the drawing after first using pencil. The result is more than a little striking, displaying a world of artistic potential.

“I was proud of myself,” Emily said with a wide smile. “I showed my mom and she was proud of me, too.”

Emily, however, most likely will pursue art and cooking as hobbies. She dreams of becoming a doctor.

Emily lives in Bellingham with her mother, Aracely. They came here from Nicaragua when Emily was 5. Emily is now a bilingual U.S. citizen.

“I started drawing in second grade. I was inspired by my older sister Adriana. I asked her how to draw flowers,” she said. “For Mother’s Day (that year), I drew a monarch butterfly on a card.”

Third-grade teacher Ben Scherrer, who taught Emily last year, in turn was inspired by Emily’s enthusiasm.

“She had a passion for art coming into my class,” he said. “As her teacher, I tried to nurture that talent, that passion. I could see how important art is for her. Whenever Emily was done with her classwork, she would ask me if she could paint or draw. The students were impressed with her talent and passion for art.”

Emily’s willingness to share also impressed Scherrer.

As far as the love of cooking Emily has developed, she and her mother were pleased to videotape how they cook tamales and shared both the tape and the food with her class.

“Not all students who come from other countries are comfortable sharing their experiences,” Scherrer said. “But Emily was comfortable enough to share a lot of information about food, culture, plants and animals. She really added a lot of richness to our class.”


Spotlight shines on children 12 or younger who excel in arts or education and shares how their parents helped them achieve success.

To suggest a child to profile, send their name and a brief description of their accomplishments, along with a parent’s name and contact information, to newsroom@bellinghamherald.com.