Artists Opening Reception
Thanks to all of you who went to the artists opening reception at my invitation to see my piece and the other works.What a fabulous artists opening reception that was at the Art League of New Britain last Saturday. The deceptive exterior of the unassuming red barn-like building that houses the Art League, is just that – deceptive. Because the interior is thoughtfully laid out for art exhibits and it shows off the current juried works of Connecticut Women Artists (CWA) so very well.
I must say the artists opening reception was so well attended, there was hardly any room to fit in more people. The energy and excitement in the gallery were palpable and the works on display were a delight to see. Two high school students were selected and awarded by CWA for their portfolios in the Scholastic Arts Award. The two were given the opportunity to exhibit with the rest of CWA membership.
It was so rewarding to see the pure joy on the faces of the two girls. They were so honored to be in an exhibition with “real life artists”. I can’t imagine what kind of confidence boost it must have given them. I spoke with one of the girls – Kayla Golden- and she said to me “it’s such an honor to be here with all of you.” One of Kayla’s pieces (shown below) was my daughter’s favorite in the exhibit.
The second high school student (Katlyn Martinez) also had some very impressive work done in charcoal. I admire artists who are able to create great work in a monochromatic color palette and much more so with charcoal. And knowing my love for hands, I was very pleased with Katlyn’s excellent execution of the hand in charcoal seen below. Here are two of Katlyn’s pieces which are currently on display in the exhibit.
Giving back in such a way by awarding and honoring these two girls was such a wonderful thing to do. It reminded me of an award I received when I was young and impressionable like they are now. You see, when I was about 8 years old I started failing in elementary school. I was practically at the bottom of my class. As a result, my teacher called my parents in for a talk and my dad, in turn, gave me a loving pep talk to pick up the pace. So I started working harder. By the third semester, I had moved from the bottom of the class to the top of my class. That year, during the awards ceremony, I received an award for the “Most Progressive Student”.
Shaping Lives with Awards
I’ll never forget that award. It changed the trajectory of my education for good. Being recognized for hard work did something for the mind of the young girl I was at the time. I learned something – there is some relationship between hard work and achievement. I also learned that progress was a good thing. Moreover, I learned that if I applied myself, I could do great things. The following year, my teacher was recommending that my parents put me in an accelerated program. Within two years, I came from the bottom of my class to skipping a grade.
Yes, you could argue that many elements worked together to get me to improve academically. And that may well be true. But what I also do know is this: I’ve never forgotten that one award. I don’t even remember the title of the book I got as my award, but I definitely remember the title of the award for which I got the book. That award did something to me. Acknowledging, encouraging and recognizing our youth, can only be a positive way of shaping their future.
What exactly these awards and recognition will do for Katlyn Martinez and Kayla Golden, I can’t say. But I do know that it may well have changed the trajectory of their lives for good.