My students at the OKC Museum of Art
We live 5 and half hours from Oklahoma City yet that seems to be where a lot of exciting events take place. This past week I traveled with some of my advanced students who signed up to show their art portfolios to college and art school recruiters. I am so proud of them for having the courage to do this adventure.
Some of my students haven't been in the U.S.A. all that long. Some have struggled to learn English but all of them have fabulous skills as young artists. We spent time building portfolio cases and mounting artwork and sketchbook pieces, boarded the bus before dawn and made it a full day of artistic adventures.
When we arrived at the Museum of Art I was thrilled to see recruiters from almost every four year and two year college in our state. The Chicago Art Institute also had a representative in the room. Each recruiter was kind and encouraging and my students received some personal feedback plus a few scholarship offers.
It was exciting to see my typically reserve and timid students visiting with such poise and polish. We had been planning this experience for about four months but we had no idea how impressive an experience it actually was. I felt like a proud mom standing in the corner pleased with how their hard work was paying off.
My trip co-sponsor is a close friend, fellow teacher and skilled artist, Cricket Acevedo. He is the director of our district's alternative school and has a wonderful rapport with kids. I love this guy. I've known him since he was in high school and admire what a difference he makes in the lives of others. I think of him as my little brother. We even share the same birthday.
Following the museum of art, I took my students art supply shopping. Most of my students had never shopped for art supplies outside of our town's Walmart. I've always loved new art supplies and my students were overwhelmed at the selection of open stock painting, drawing and printmaking materials. The store was shocked to have a charter bus pull up in their driveway. We left with lots of new toys.
Another treat for the day was visiting one of my former students who has a successful art studio, business and art career in OKC. Jerrod Smith graduated from our school over 10 years ago and is responsible for claiming and renovating a thriving arts neighborhood in OKC called the Plaza District. His most recent project was organizing and executing a series of murals around OKC. He recently launched his own business of handmade items for the motorcycle enthusiast. It is attached to a very hipster barber shop that specializes in straight razor shaves and grooming for men with Jerrod's love of beards.
At the end of the day I think it was a very special day. There aren't a lot of examples of working artists, art communities and galleries where we live so I believe this experience helped my tribe to see how their love of art can open all kinds of doors.