Posts Tagged ‘pride’

My 1st Pointillism while in college painting class  Circa: the 70's

My 1st Pointillism while in college painting class Circa: the 70's

Last night I went on a First Friday Artwalk in Phoenix, Arizona. There were young adults everywhere.   I had no idea that there was so much excitement in downtown Phoenix!   As a middle-aged artist,  my anxiety level escalated from one art studio/gallery to the next.   What was I thinking?  I could have stayed home and just painted.  So, unfortunately, ageism abounded as I did my best to experience each piece of art.  I tried to imagine what kind of minds could create such complex and “crazy” pieces.  It wasn’t working.  I felt old so therefore my personal artwork must be old.   I wanted to bolt!

However, at one of the last stops, I found a huge warehouse-type room full of sculpture. There were experiential pieces; “Step on this!” “Look in here!” I followed directions not because I wanted to but because I was instructed to.  It had been a learned behavior from my years of directed primary & secondary education in a small southern town. Being socially appropriate was most important, more so than any specific educational course work. “Do what is expected!”    Whatever that is…

This gallery was filled from top to bottom with sculpture of all sizes. I couldn’t even identify half of the art mediums.  There were also visitors of all ages in the room.  Small groups, here and there, clustered around individual pieces. They appeared to be totally involved with the art processes and concepts. The audience was also confident, much more so than I felt.

I noticed a photographer “working” the room. He was an unpretentious, middle-aged guy.   Obviously, he had a clear motive for taking such careful shots of the art, artists, & visitors. I approached and asked him if he knew any specific artists. He replied, “I know all of them. They are my students”. He was a professor at Arizona State University and this gallery space was filled with his sculpture class; all there to share the excitement of their class projects, individual artwork, and mutual feelings of success.

After our momentary exchange, the room took on a different “color and feel” for me.  It no longer was threatening but inviting.  I was reminded of how I felt as a young art student; I had acquired skills that the average student didn’t get in non-art related classes.   I had perceived myself as special and gifted.

I now could see the actual personalities and relationships of this unique gallery audience. They were college students, their parents, singles & couples, grandparents, and siblings co-experiencing their art student’s success.  I was reminded of how much art changed my outlook as a young adult.

Last night, this small group of college students re-reminded me to take more personal risks. “Step on this!”  “Look in here!”  These are creative invitations to think and feel young and embrace life and fear. Learning to simply follow directions and do only that which is expected can breed lifelong fear and anxiety.   WE DON’T HAVE TO DO WHAT IS EXPECTED!

I went home with a renewed feeling of being special and gifted being an artist and peer to these young minds.  Learning to be & think creatively is vital to today’s educational curriculum and the well being of men and women for years to come.   We must  keep art in the classroom.