On the first Saturday of every month, I open my studio to the Chickasha Area Arts Council. They have a First Saturday Kid’s Club where they conduct an arts educational activity to community children ages 5-12, free of charge. It has been my extreme pleasure to be involved in this effort even to the point of teaching classes three or four times a year. When I doubt whether or not my, or the council’s, efforts are worthwhile, I simply look up to Connor ‘s painting.
You may not see it, but these are tie fighters fighting an x-wing fighter and Yoda and it was painted just for me. It is permanently affixed within view of my art bench.
Connor is a challenged young man being raised by his grandparents. They tell me he struggles talking or working with anyone. But when he comes to my studio, especially when I’m teaching, he opens up for a few days. They swear that my studio and my teaching and my respect for the students is what brings out the best in Connor, at least for a few days. They say they would bring him every day if it were possible.
That is enough to carry me through the tough times. The times when I have to decide whether my daughter is going to get new soccer cleats or if we can make due for one more year so I can continue to provide this service to the community.
I don’t sell many of my works. I don’t sell many memberships. I pretty much pay for this out of pocket month to month, sometimes day by day.
But when I think about shutting it in, I have Connor’s painting always in view. It is a constant reminder of exactly how important the arts are to the world, the community, to Connor, and to me.