Sunday, July 25, 2010

Virginia Summer Residential Governor's School for the Arts

Last school year, I encouraged Erin Edwards, a rising senior, to apply for a month-long summer residential program called the Summer Residential Governor's Schools for the Arts. Our state, despite a tight budget, offered these once-in-a-lifetime opportunities again AT NO CHARGE this year as they have for who knows how many years to students in a wide range of disciplines. The various "schools" are held on different college campuses around Virginia. Hats off to the Commonwealth!

After a rigorous adjudication process locally and in Richmond, our capital, Erin was selected and what a fine choice they made! She invited me to Teacher Appreciation Day yesterday on the Radford University Campus (where this photo was taken--she's as beautiful inside as she is out). It is a 5 1/2 hour drive from here, but nothing could have kept me away. I was proud of her to begin with, but after I saw the work she had done, especially in her mixed-media drawing class and her sketchbook, I was doubly so.

As I walked around campus with her visiting her classes where mini-exhibitions were on display, the more formal gallery, chatting with her professors, and hearing all about her experience, I felt euphoric in the knowledge that she had embraced the experience in all its dimensions and it her. She seems to have tapped deeper into that place from which artmaking emerges with the knowledge that she really is, even at the ripe age of 17, a true artist. And I am beyond gratified that she wants to become an art teacher.
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