Keonay Witherspoon displays some of her artwork during Craft Day at The Old Cotton Gin on Saturday.

A Warren County High School senior who wants to share a message of inclusiveness and diversity through her art will get some help thanks to winning a new scholarship.

Keonay Witherspoon was awarded the first Warren County Scholarship for the Arts in the amount of $1,000 during Saturday’s Craft Day at The Old Cotton Gin. The daughter of Michael Witherspoon of Warrenton, she plans to attend the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the fall to pursue a degree in physics with a minor in art.

A self-taught artist, Witherspoon said she has been interested in art since she was younger and always looked up to an older brother—there are four—who does graphic design.

“I always wanted to be good like him,” she said.

It may seem a little odd that Witherspoon wants to study both science and art—left brain and right brain—but she thinks it is just right. As a baby, she said she always held her bottle with both hands, having no preference for using one over the other.

Her art story reflects real life at her school, where Native American students were recently told they cannot wear cultural objects of honor at their graduation on Saturday. 

In her creations, Witherspooon said, she likes to reflect a message of inclusiveness, where every race and religion are equal, where all cultures are accepted and it’s OK to be who you are.

“I want to show that everything is beautiful,” she said. “How to be fearless, even if someone doesn’t look like you or act like you.”

Witherspoon is working on her own TV show and has created cartoon characters to tell a story where people are beautiful on both the inside and out.

And fearless. Just like she had to be fearless during her application and interview process for the scholarship.

“I’ve been blessed by God and graced by Jesus,” she said. ”I’m so proud to be able to show off my art.”