The exhibit was packed with people. Packed. There was even a table with food and a tower of champagne (I thought it was soda, but I wasn’t allowed to have any). I was excited. The art was nothing like I had ever seen. Large canvases with bold, colorful strokes of paint. Small canvases with energetic splatters of enamel layered over strips of torn paper. I was mesmerized. This was art? My mind was opened. I took note of the other attendees who stood, like I did, immersed in the interesting array of displays. I remember wondering if any of the students had attended the exhibit and watched the people examine their artwork. I imagined that if they did, they would feel a sense of pride.
In my adult life, I have exhibited my own artwork in my local libraries several times. Each time, I am reminded of walking through that first exhibit with my grandmother. In my mind, that exhibit was fancy. I was in a world class gallery. And, I was. I was in my library, and that exhibit taught me that books and art were two means to the same end – illumination.
(Photo of "Spectrum V (1969)" by Ellsworth Kelly (American) from the Metroplitan Museum's Modern collection. Photo by Kristina Santry-Mull)