Things have gotten a little hectic as we sprint towards the end of the school year and SUMMER! One to college, one to high school and one in a Fashion show next week , that would be Del’s first one- Mila Hermanovski showing on March 14 at Vibiana in LA
Booker T Washington is the Arts Magnet high school here in Dallas and that is where the high school bound child will be. What’s interesting is how hard the kids have to work to get in to a school that generally moves them towards careers in the arts and creative fields that many parents and adults in generations past have cringed at because it was a challenge to make a living on those skills alone. Del’s entire family comes from a background of artists, designers and architects, so not an eyelash was batted at his going to design school, (and they lived in New York so…not a stretch). I remember hearing suggestions that I also get a teaching degree (so I could do that to fill in “monetary gaps”), which I blithely ignored and went full steam ahead for a fine arts degree with no plan B. Mila went to a fantastic high school, that today really encourages the students into new innovative and creative fields, but at the time had a guidance counselor that was not so encouraging about pursuing a career in fashion or arts. The people that suggested alternative job paths weren’t being critical of talents that they saw, they just thought life would be easier for us if we followed a more conventional path and they wanted us to make a decent living in the future.
What is interesting is how much of our world today is moved by the arts, creativity and out of the box thinking and how much encouragement I see being given to kids to pursue those interests with the end goal being a life’s work, (I am not referring to things like, “Dance Moms”-ugh!) The emphasis now centers on doing something you love and doing it wholeheartedly in the belief that you’ll at least be happy with your choice and will enjoy working hard to be a success.
There is a great place called Studio Arts near White Rock lake that helps put kids with artistic talents on a path to develop skills with different art medias and gives them focus for where their strengths and weaknesses lie. They are given specific assignments and time limits in which to get them done followed by critiques that allow them to look at their work objectively and go back and rework it if need be. Barley Vogel owns and runs Studio Arts (with Jim Hastings (Dallas artist) help) and she does a great job getting to know the kids and getting beautiful work out of them. There are also several students that attend Booker T that work there too and can answer the questions of what to expect at an arts driven school. Plus, as a bonus they help them organize their portfolios so they are not a chaotic mess when they are submitted for review.
One of the assignments was to go to a cafe and sit outside and do a drawing that would later be re-lined with India ink, then water colored. This, of course, was my cue to go to one of my favorite (Dallas) French bistros and have a glass of wine and read while Nik slaved away with his work (Starbucks does have tables outside, but sadly, no atmosphere). It was between “Rise 1″ at Inwood Village and “Toulouse” on Knox. Although Toulouse does have great people watching and pomme frites, Rise 1 won out because their patio had planters, flowers and a fountain (and the marshmellow soup (little goat cheese souffles floating around in tomato soup…FANTASTIQUE!)) but I digress…while I was enjoying the atmosphere, (aside: we were the only ones on the patio because it was 4:15 on a work day and it was 90 degrees) one of the owners of the restaurant, Hedda Dowd, came out to see what we were doing. She was sooo lovely and effusive in her encouragement that Nik beamed for days. She wanted to know his plans for high school and recommended Booker T and she wanted him to bring the painting back when he was done for final viewing. He felt he was making the right choice before this encounter but that really solidified it for him.
The arts, it seems to us, are finally viewed as a viable option for employment by parents that in the past would have felt faint at the suggestion that their child go into such a fickle field…or maybe they have just seen enough miserable people in middle life chuck the careers that someone else wanted them to follow in order to pursue their real interests and start living happily. Who knows, but we’re happy that there are people and places all over that encourage the creative parts of our kids and believe that there is a productive future ahead of them.