Wednesday, October 19, 2022

Alumni Achievement Award

 When Brigham Young University told me I was going to receive the College of Fine Arts and Communication's Alumni Achievement Award, I wondered how they found out about the twenty pounds I lost during COVID quarantine. If that wasn't my greatest achievement, I don't know what was. I didn't ask questions, I just showed up and let them pamper me.

photo by Scott Young

Photo by Scott Young
One of my favorite parts about my trip to Utah, was getting to give a lecture in the Harris Fine Arts building, where I "lived" as a student for six years. It's hard to believe they will be tearing down the building in just a couple of months, to build a new one.
I spoke about my belief that accepting the life calling of an artist is an act of faith. There will be times when you will be asked to do what seems impossible, but if you step up and try, you'll be able to look back with joy at what you were able to accomplish. There were so many familiar faces in attendance, including childhood friends from Pennsylvania, and  students whose parents I knew from living in Georgia and Ohio. 

My old art buddies and professors from 26 years ago were in attendance at the awards luncheon, as well as some family members. The greatest reward was reconnecting with loved ones! (But I'm not going to say "no" to the goodie bag with football shaped fudge).

They gave me tickets to an amazing ballroom dance performance and my daughter and I to run a 5K. It's the second time in my life I'd ever done that, and the first time in 35 years. I beat my high school time by 4 minutes and lost 8 pounds, the last couple of months while training for it. Getting the award changed my life before I even showed up on campus. My husband and I loved our stay at the campus guest house.

A bonus was getting to take my daughter to the homecoming game and watching from the President's Loge. They had some amazing food and a great view of the field. After the marching band did their half time show, I was able to walk onto the field with the other award winners and wave at the crowd.  My picture was also on the Jumbotron. The week was truly an opportunity of a life-time and one I will never forget.

APH Insights Art Contest Field Trip

After two COVID years and an online ceremony, it was so great to finally get to take my students to Kentucky for an in-person APH Insights Art Contest exhibit and awards banquet.

I had five student pieces that got into the show, and was able to take four students, including two of the three award winners. 
It's a thrill for me to take students who have never flown before on a plane. We definitely got our share of ECC (Expanded Core Curriculum) practice. Students with visual impairments are required to learn skills to navigate life, on top of the normal school curriculum. Orientation and Mobility, for example is an important skill that we used a lot: using elevators, escalators, moving sidewalks, buses, Uber cars, planes, airport trains-we did it all! And don't forget the experience eating a fancy meal and knowing which of the 3 forks, two knives, to use first.

While we were in Louisville we took advantage of the Jacko-o-Lantern Spectacular! All four of my kids were low vision, rather than totally blind, so they could appreciate the lights, and they loved the sounds and music throughout.
The tour the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft is always a treat, as we get a guided tour with great audio description. I hope Kevin never retires.

And of course, the tour of the American Printing House for the Blind is interesting. We see giant rolls of Braille paper that stretch 3.2 miles long, watch someone recording an audio book, and get to peruse the museum that includes Stevie Wonder's piano and Helen Keller's desk.

It was a fantastic trip and will inspire other students to work hard and try to submit top-notch art pieces to be able to attend in the future.