Even in SC by Susan Irish
My most favorite teacher ever was, of course, my middle school art teacher.
Virginia Midyette was brave. She was immensely talented and could have done anything with her talents, but chose to share them with pre-teenagers in public school. Share, she did.
She started an afterschool art club in a recession year in a fairly new school in a farm town. The very type of programs that will be eliminated if the National Arts Education Association is targeted for budget cuts. NAEA is the school version of the Nation Endowment for the Arts, NEA. The Arts always go first, but it is the Arts that make us human.
Virginia taught me to do batik and I have been experimenting with wax ever since. It is because of her that I became an art teacher. Once I sent her a note and she sent me back a handwritten letter with her artwork on the letterhead. She could not have possibly remembered me in the huge population of students, but she took the time to respond AND invited me to converse with her. We corresponded for years until she passed away.
She continued painting until her final days. She spent many summers in France and said that at some point every artist should try to go, as the “light really is different there”. She told me how she volunteered at a youth center for many years after she retired. That she could never really stop teaching. She encouraged me and offered advice while I was teaching. Knowing that she had inspired me and getting to hear about it made her feel as if it all really mattered. Matter, indeed.
May 20th Fabulon will show the work of Berkeley, Charleston County, and Dorchester District II Art Teachers with a reception from 5-7. Included in this group is an artist you may have read about recently in The Post and Courrier, Kim Thomas. Come meet Kim and the other fine teachers sharing their work.
May 25th come see my very special student Nicolas, among other artists, at Art in the Dark show at AccessAbility, 7944 Dorchester Road, 5:30-8:30pm. This show will feature SC artists with Disabilities.
It really does matter.