There have been several times in my life when I've felt my whole future could have possibly shifted because of just one person's belief in me.
In high school, my art teacher told me I had an eye for photography. It was the first time I remember someone telling me I was "really good" at something, and I never forgot it. As a matter of fact, that single comment helped to push me forward to focus on my career that I still have, today.
As my photography career progressed and I wanted to grow, I found myself wanting to create artwork-beyond the portraiture I felt I was then making. So I began to focus on how I could sell my art, and have an art show. I didn't even have an art portfolio that I could show, but I was driven, and just one person believed enough in me to let me show work in her restaurant, which was where my art career was born.
When I wanted to expand that art career, I sought out someone amazingly talented who would possibly (hopefully) consider the idea of showing their artwork at a total newbie's art show. One person believed in me, decided to share their work alongside mine, and invited me to visit their studio, where I decided I never wanted to leave.
As a part of this studio, I was able to visit a local conference where I met two women who'd recently began to solidify their dream of career mentoring. They wanted us (the studio members) on board. This may seem simple on the surface. But just a few years before...
As part of an artist's workshop, I'd been asked to write my own bio, looking back on my life, and talking about the highlights of where I'd been, and what I'd done. One thing I was especially proud of was that I'd helped bring art classes and career mentoring to the community. At the time I wrote that bio, I'd imagined offering these classes and mentoring to others had happened because I was super rich and I'd paid for artists to teach other people about art. But today, though my dreams became very, very real, I now know the money was the least important factor.
Today, all of my studio mates and I underwent Career Mentor Training through Building Bridges to Careers. In the following weeks, we will be meeting with local middle school teachers to be paired up with students who we will mentor throughout the course of the school year. We'll be working together to create art, talk about careers in art, and how to make a living from your creativity. We will be the artists that could be that one person in another person's lives.
I can hardly believe it.
Just last weekend, while the momentum was building for this training, we hosted a meet up for adults who wanted to share feedback on their own artwork, where we could help each other grow. It was magical and energizing, building up to training today, and I'm hoping it's a sign of what's to come from all of the amazing students and people we'll be meeting over the next year (and for years to come).
REsolve Studios is now affiliated with Building Bridges to Careers, Partners in Education, Artsbridge, and the Washington County Boys and Girls Club. All of these programs and entities are working together to bring our community enrichment through the arts, and I get to be a part of it. I'm also teaching small, local classes on photo and art processes and mentoring through the Parkersburg Art Center throughout the school year, and all of us at REsolve also continue to operate our own personal businesses: Geoff, Todd, Anthony, Lisa, and me.
We've been hearing through things like the meet up and other social events that others want to be a part of REsolve in many ways-by contributing, by coming to our shows, by offering support in whatever way they can…and by wearing the snazzy "RE" logo. If you'd like a sneak peek at how you can wear our family logo, check it out, here.