Monday, May 3, 2010

Swapping My Art Story For A Cake - Brilliant!

Facebook can open doors unexpectedly, I am slowly figuring out, some worth walking through, and some worth running away from like your life depended on it. Thankfully, the door which led to the cake was well worth stepping through. You see, a few weeks ago a friend and fellow artist/teacher, Mary Elizabeth Kimbrough put out a call on FB for an artist to come speak to her art students at Bishop State and the payoff was a cake. I jumped toward the cake with pure excitement!

What I didn't realize, of course, was that she needed someone to give a 50 minute talk, so this would be no ordinary show up and answer a few art questions/mingle thing. I actually had to share a picture of my art journey as a presentation and that at first gave me great pause, cake or not.  The teacher in me had no problem talking to groups, in fact, I missed that experience quite a bit, but that was sharing information about academic topics, not about me, my art, my beliefs, my story, and the personal nature of this was daunting.....at first.

As I began to ponder what I would talk about, what these students needed to hear, and what part of my journey I would NOT talk about I realized I needed to know where it got started, my art path that is, and built it from there. Luckily, being the collector and pack rat that I am, I was able to dig up some art samples as far back as third grade, and proceeded to create a movie about how my art developed from childhood and eventually led to a full time art career. The walk down memory lane was beautiful and priceless, and I quickly learned that this experience was as much for my benefit as it was for those students or MEK, and I was grateful. 

Now, if you have ever been asked to give a presentation then you know things don't always go as planned, and this day was no different. There was a hibernation issue with the computer, a once in a blue moon fire alarm, and a rather warm upstairs. But, we just rolled with the punches and despite the interruptions, I felt it went pretty well. 

The students at Bishop reminded me so much of some of the students I had taught at younger ages. They were from all walks of life, some challenging more than others, but they seemed attentive and engaged in what I had to share. I chose to present my journey as one from a person who, despite life throwing me medical and emotional curves, made the best of what I was given. I knew I was an imaginative, creative child, but I was no art prodigy. I simply took the gift of creativity, and after going on disability, used it well, and am proud of that. 

After the presentation I went to lunch with MEK and we were able to get to know each other a bit better, which was another high lite of my day. Mary is studying for her PhD and by the way her students responded to her, I believe she is already a master educator, let alone artist. Her collages are bright, beautifully colored, but layered with meaning and background around a theme she is studying. It was her artwork that drew me to her on FB, and I am thankful that her artwork has now led to a friendship. I am surrounded by wonderful artists in my life and feel that is one way God shows me favor. They are some of the most intelligent, creative, and loving beings I know, and I am honored to know so many. After sharing with MEK's class, I said a little thank you prayer to the big guy upstairs. 

To me, art inspires all of us one way or the other, and I was able to inspire a few new folks with my simple story of being a creative, passionate person. I felt right at home that day, surrounded by students, by a fellow artist, by crazy interruptions, but most of all, by a common belief that art and life are beautiful and meant to be shared. That to me is the icing on top of the cake~!

MEK writes a blog where she shares her vast knowledge of art history, love of family, and beautiful artwork with the world. I encourage you to stop by and check it out. 
http://mekonline.blogspot.com/2010/04/thank-you.html

Here is one of her latest pieces of artwork as well:
And, here is the link to the movie I created and shared with her students. It's 18 minutes long, filled with relaxing, peaceful music and some interesting art, so I hope some of you will spend some time checking it out and let me know what you think. 
Peace Friends, Ardith
http://www.photodex.com/sharing/viewshow?fl=3186943&alb=0
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