Fort Mill Times

leaving HER own PRINT

Ally Salyers, daughter of Teresa and Brian Salyers of Steele Creek, sits with her drawings, which have been used on greeting cards to help promote causes.
Ally Salyers, daughter of Teresa and Brian Salyers of Steele Creek, sits with her drawings, which have been used on greeting cards to help promote causes.

For only being 10 years old, Ally Salyers has her life mapped out -- whether it's singing, dancing or playing the guitar.

She dreams of being on Broadway one day.

Then there's art.

It's the latter that's helping the local youngster make a name for herself, even though it doesn't make her top list of things to do in life.

Ally's artistic abilities caught the attention of a greeting card Web site owner from Charlotte when her ice cream cone drawing was published in a Charlotte Observer art contest.

Fast forward a year and a half later and Ally is a featured artist -- the youngest one -- on Susan Cella's Web site, cellabrations.com.

"She has developed her art that it doesn't look like a child's drawing anymore," Cella said. "She is in an exceptional category."

For Ally, who lives in The Palisades community in Steele Creek, her drawings aren't about a resume and earning money, or fame. It's about helping people.

In her most recent campaign -- her third since partnering with Cella -- she is using proceeds from the sale of note cards to benefit Walk Now for Autism. She hopes to collect $1,000 for the October walk at Lowe's Motor Speedway.

Her current batch of designs called "Whose Shoes?" features cowboy boots, tennis shoes, ballet shoes, high heels and sandals.

"You can't tell if a person has autism or not by looking at their shoes," explains Ally, a fourth-grader at Winget Park Elementary.

The cards cost $15 for a set of 10, with $10 going to Ally's autism efforts.

When she heard about a special needs student in her younger sister's class, Ally wanted to help in some way. National Autism Awareness Month this month seemed like the right fit.

"I guess I am just that kind of person who would rather give than receive," Ally said.

Her mother, Teresa Salyers, said Ally has always been "one of those compassionate kind of people."

Ally's past art projects for charity include three greeting cards -- a polar bear, a penguin and an owl -- that benefited the World Wildlife Fund. She also drew cards for child abuse awareness. Her two previous efforts raised about $200 combined.

Ally's commitment to community service through her art, along with her singing talents, helped her earn the Miss South Carolina Preteen Sweetheart crown last month at a Charlotte pageant.

Her mother says it's sometimes easy to forget Ally is only 10. Ally is a self-starter, she said.

Ally's discipline and work ethic start in the morning. She "never hits snooze" and gets herself up, her mother said, adding Ally even keeps her on track throughout the day.

"Sometimes I wonder how I got so fortunate to get a mature child who teaches me so much," she said.

For Cella's greeting card company, the partnership with a young artist has been a good fit.

"It's more than her artistic ability. It really is her personality. She's very determined," Cella said. "When she likes an idea, you know it right away.

"She has an idea of what she wants to do and how she's going to do it."

As for the youngster's plans for the future, Ally said, "If I can't be on Broadway, I would rather be illustrating or writing books."

To purchase "Whose Shoes?" note cards, visit cellabrations.com. For $15, you will receive 10 note cards featuring five shoe designs. A donation of $10 will go toward 10-year-old artist Ally Salyers' team for Walk Now for Autism.

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