Within a small community of diverse interests, the Honors Program gave me the gift of freedom: the freedom to write about the significance of fried chicken in a creative writing workshop, to visit the home of a museum curator to learn about her research on Ilonka Karasz, and the liberating experience to "make bad art" in order to make the good.
All of these varied experiences were filed away and contributed to my later development as an artist; however, my outlook on art shifted after a single trip. During my sophomore year, I traveled with an Honors seminar to Chicago and discovered a new love of architecture through the geometrical patterns of Frank Lloyd Wright. My first trip catapulted my desire to see and learn from new locations – a very innovative and highly interactive method of absorbing information.
Thus, my junior year was spent in the lush landscape of Costa Rica. Along with learning about the local customs and language, I had the opportunity to teach art at a local elementary school (and to be teased by a classroom of 20 grinning children). A culture that fully accepts the belief in “art for art’s sake,” Costa Rica provided a wealth of images that spurred me to return the following summer by means of a CURO summer research fellowship. I lived and interacted with the gracious ticos who shared their experiences about development in Costa Rica which I then transformed into a series of oil paintings and watercolor sketches.
Back in Athens, as a Mary Rosenblatt scholarship recipient, I was able to show prospective art students another side of research in the art world: the possibility of a focused investigation that may give others an enlightened view through visual images. Since my inspiration has come from unexpected new sights, I plan to continue my travels to Europe and paint there. My time in the Honors Program and at UGA has taken me literally and figuratively “out of the box” and dispelled my inhibitions of the larger art world. In the future, I hope to reciprocate the good advice given by dozens of professors by joining them, for everyone can be “creative” — they just need the original spark of inspiration.
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