Corcoran High School graduating senior Lennard Streat dreams of using his artistic talent to give back to the community.
The 17-year-old is willing to donate the time and material to paint a mural in the South Side of Syracuse as a form a neighborhood revitalization.
“Art is something people take lightly, but it impacts them in a big way,” Streat said.
As a student at Corcoran High School, Streat witnessed firsthand the power art and design have on the community.
The creation of the Ted Grace Reading Grove transformed the dirty, overgrown, high school campus into a picturesque park. What used to be a place where he observed classmates dumping their trash, now is a place where students enjoy spending their time.
“Maybe if schools didn’t look like jails there wouldn’t be so many kids in ISS (In School Suspension),” he said. “It’s important to create environments that are worth respecting.”
Streat’s interest in art began at age six when a friend taught him how to draw a character from his favorite cartoon, “Dragon Ball Z.” He practiced drawing the figure over and over again until he could draw it better than his friend.
“There are a lot of things I got in to just because I am extremely competitive,” he said.
Today, Streat is capable of drawing detailed images of photographic quality and works in a variety of mediums, which include pastel, oil paint, acrylic paint, water color, colored pencil, charcoal and digital art.
His most prized piece is a lifelike, charcoal drawing of a Siberian tiger.
“I could get rid of everything, but if I lost this one, I would just feel terrible,” he said.
His competitive nature and attention to detail have been great assets in his academic career. As a participant of the International Baccalaureate Program, a rigorous college preparatory program which requires significant amount of work and dedication, he is eligible for up to 30 college credits.
This fall, he will be attending Rochester Institute of Technology where he plans to major in mechanical engineering and minor in software engineering.
“I thought, what is the relation between art and engineering? In art you are creating, in engineering you are creating; they are linked by my desire to create,” he said.
This summer, Streat plans to “take it easy” by starting his own online business, and he is actively seeking a home for his mural.