It was like a scene from a movie when William Hazzard showed up to the Operation Art official opening recently.
The presentation screeched to a halt when the Dubbo School of Distance Education student arrived, mother Kelly Hazzard said.
“They sent an email we didn’t get so when we got there we had no idea he’d won and they had no idea we were coming,” she said.
“They stopped the band on stage and said ‘we have the winner here’.”
Operation Art is a state-wide visual arts exhibition for school students from Kindergarten to Year 10. More than 800 artworks are displayed at the Armory Gallery in Sydney.
Fifteen-year-old Will won the Senior Ansto Award, and his artwork was chosen as part of the touring 50.
Ms Hazzard said she walked around the gallery in shock after learning of Will’s achievement.
As such, the family recently returned to Sydney to have a closer look at the exhibition.
“It was funny because a couple of families came in and an elderly couple and they walked straight over to William’s artwork,” Ms Hazzard said.
Art has been therapeutic for Will since he was diagnosed with autism five years ago.
The majority of his work is of animals and the environment, built up in layers of paint to make it tactile.
Will was also chosen as one of four people to design the new welcome to Dubbo rhinos.