Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Never Stop Learning

The audience of 400 people for my presentation on September 17

I was asked to speak about collage as my medium and my artistic voice, in addition to how I have become successful with my art through marketing, to a group of 400 at the University of Central Florida yesterday morning. 

UCF is the second largest university in the country, with 65,000 students. The Learning Institute for Elders at UCF (L.I.F.E.) provides educational programs for group study on topics selected by and for the membership. They are a nonprofit organization and a community education program for people of retirement age in the Central FL area who thirst for continued learning. 

A man that I worked with at my first advertising agency job over 18 years ago is on the L.I.F.E. board of directors, and invited me to present to the group. Norman and I have stayed in touch over the years after reuniting at an Orlando Museum of Art function. Norman attended my 2010 solo exhibition opening at the Maitland Art Center and has been following my work ever since. He gave me a wonderful introduction on the podium yesterday morning and his wife Aymar, who is from Brazil, kissed me on both cheeks and hugged me vigorously, right in the middle of the Student Union. She is much much shorter than me, even without my funky heels, so I had to bend at the knees to receive her love. It's nice to feel loved, isn't it? 

I love that one of the rather bold statements on the L.I.F.E. website is "Bring an inquiring and open mind!" and they do. When I arrived I had several people come up to me and tell me how much they liked my hair. I was well received by this group despite my crazy hair, my nose ring and my clashing clothing patterns. They were interested in what I had to say, they laughed at my jokes, and they applauded me at the end. I was inundated with questions and compliments on my work.

The Student Union at UCF where my talk took place

Thanks to teaching workshops, I wasn't a bit nervous speaking to such a large group. To me, it was no different than speaking to 15 students. When folks came up to me afterward and told me that I had a knack for giving a presentation, I told them that my Dad was an independent insurance broker all my life and he taught me how to talk to people. He taught me how to strike up a conversation with a stranger, simply by saying hello and starting out with a smile. I learned from my father that most people are approachable and interesting and that there are many opportunities in a day to engage with someone  new, if you open your heart and your mind. When I present to a group, large or small, I try to remember that it's a room full of individuals.

my Dad on his fishing boat, one of his favorite things to do with us as kids besides talk to strangers

Thank you Dad for helping me find the confidence in myself to say "yes" to that very first art workshop coordinator who asked me to teach, and for saying "yes" to this opportunity at UCF. I never presented my art to such a large group as I did yesterday, but it's true, if you have an inquiring and open mind, you never stop learning.

thank you 
for being part of my
Art Journey,

1 comment:

  1. thanks for the testimonial! however it takes a person who is willing to listen and follow thru
    and you were and still are that person,so my hat as usual is off to YOU! I have always been
    sooooo proud of you, it takes a lot of hard work to achieve what you have accomplished.
    and to raise your children to also be accomplished is a testimonial to you and doug.
    I will get the ins. info for you today,but you need to follow thru! always follow thru.
    I love you


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