This past week I had the privilege of participating in an artist panel discussion for GED students at Luna Community College in Las Vegas, NM. Four artists were invited: encaustic painter: Ellen Koment, acrylic painter David Perez Escudero, printmaker Nancy Camacho, and me!
As I found out, many of the students in the Luna Community College GED or high school equivalency program grew up in rural communities and/or were homeschooled. As part of their education experience, LCC staff work hard to provide the students exposure to a variety of career paths. Interestingly, many students expressed an interest in art but said they had no idea what a career in art could actually look like so they decided to bring us in!
Each artist spoke for approximately fifteen minutes telling stories about how we knew we were artists; how we got our start, challenges we faced, our training/education, and our artwork and process.
I went last and felt a tad nervous as I was the newbie in the group:
Ellen grew up surrounded by the arts in NYC, started formal art education in high school, and has enjoyed a long and successful art career.
David was born and raised in Las Vegas, NM and attended the local college NMHU in the 1970's when its art department was a leader in the state. He also has enjoyed a long and successful art career.
Nancy is originally from California and attended NMHU more recently where she found printmaking. Over the years she's had several solo shows and is an established artist.
In all honestly I felt a bit out of my league as I shared my stories and did my best to encourage the students to explore the wide world of art.
Overall I enjoyed the presentations and the students seemed to as well.
Although being young adults they hid their interest! From all outward appearances they seemed completely disinterested and even bored. However the feedback afterwards was very positive. One staff member said, "This is the most students we've had show up for an extracurricular event in ages!"
On May 5th there will be a LCC student art show on display at The Plaza Hotel in Las Vegas and several students asked me if I would attend which I plan to do. If you are in town I hope to see you there!