Friday, August 17, 2012

Visiting the Past

Aluminum wire armature for Celebration
Tonight I watched a special on network TV honoring teachers, with multiple wonderful stars talking about the teachers who were special to them - Jennifer Garner, Meryl Streep, the main guy character from Glee, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Carrie Underwood, etc.- and was brought to tears several times by their stories, and of course thinking of my own time, early in my beginning as  a professional artist, as a teacher of English and art, particularly in an alternative high school, in Houston, Tx.  I don't think I was all that great - I was an anxious divorcee with elementary-age children, it was part-time (3 hours in the morning),  a stop-gap filler for my economic holes, enabling time to paint, exhibit,  travel on off-time(with sick-leave added in) for painting  but I have been (because of FB) intermittently in touch with a few of my students from the late 70's, early 80's. In fact one of them appeared in my booth recently and challenged me to remember her name from 30+ years ago. I couldn't of course, but thank you, Melanie Bell, for stopping by to say hi! Weirdly, I still dream about teaching there!
 I especially remember one art project, making wire sculptures with baling wire. One of my particularly dyslexic students made an amazing football player carrying a football, all out of wire, and he was so pleased, and so was I!  I think of that when making the armatures for various sculptures, though mine now are far more simple (skeletal supports only) than those made by my high school class.  The Arts, in any form,can  make an incredible difference to the different, the students for whom traditional academics are dazing and confusing and inaccessible.  I urge us all to support alternative forms of education - special arts and sciences high schools, home-schooling, the full spectrum of possibility, that all students may realize success in any form and go on to productive and happy lives.  To those I encountered and enjoyed at Memorial Hall, I salute you!

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