I suppose I could call this my artist’s statement of gratitude.
I owe a lot to the artists with whom I attended the University of Wisconsin and Northern Illinois University. Having returned to school after my children were grown allowed me the experience of bonding with artists half my age. I believe learning and working alongside my younger friends taught me to be more innovative in my approach to art making; it expanded my ability to adapt to ever-changing methods in technology and media. I earned a BFA degree from NIU in 1989, shortly before my 40th birthday and dove into creating and exhibiting one series after another, poring my heart out with gusto!
Then in 2010 I began meeting monthly with a small group of artists in the Whitewater, Wisconsin area. After having operated as a solo artist for so long, it was a relief to share the load physically, mentally and financially. We give each other feedback and exhibit our artwork together. Getting together regularly over time regarding a passion we share has caused us to build trusted friendships. We have learned a great deal from each other and continue to do so.
In 2014 I trained with the Alzheimers Association of Milwaukee to learn how to facilitate their “Memories in the Making” program. Since then I’ve enjoyed volunteering for local caregivers on Friday afternoons. It has been wonderful to witness how making visual art can help people with failing memories express so much when their words allude them. And it’s fascinating to observe the “style” that each of these adults has maintained at their core. This work has encouraged me to be more experimental and inventive in my own creative problem solving.
BARBARA GRANT, 2019
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