Sunday, November 25, 2012

Modern Art

All I had learned of art in grade school wouldn’t prepare me for what I would see in my library that day.  My grandmother brought me to our favorite library, the one with giant paper mache dinosaurs, to view an exhibit of Modern Art done by students from the local university, UNLV.  I had no idea what to expect.

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)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Torch

I was recently handed a torch I did not ask to carry.  This torch is both heavy, and light.  It is hot and cold.  It requires my bare hands to hold it, I can’t wear gloves.  It is both a light in the darkness, as well as a force capable of lighting fires of destruction.  The hands that passed it to me held it with integrity, honesty, and a clear, decisive vision.  I have to accept that they would not have passed this to me without seeing those same qualities in me.  I have a responsibility to wield this torch as a leader, to use it as they did – as a light.  And I will.  With all that I am, I will accept this responsibility with a humble and grateful heart.