Brooklyn, New York
Senior Director of Academic Computing and Support, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art
As you read this, I hope you are able to find some comfort, take heart, and be encouraged with a simple, yet profound notion.
I am reminded that art and artists (I use this term broadly.) are extremely important in times of unrest and crisis, such as now.
It is precisely by the act of creating and embodying one's inner vision—in whatever medium and by whatever means they are called—that artists (and all those in creative fields) counter fear, stasis, myopia, and depression that challenges everyone. It is the ability to envision something new, the practice of imagining and acting in new ways to accomplish our goals, and the discipline of repeatedly trying, failing, and re-trying that demonstrates to the world the possibilities that exist, that there are possibilities, and that there are other ways of thinking and acting in this moment. Creating is a form of generation and is life-giving, and that is your super power. Use it now. Share it with others.
It was a very different time when I graduated in 1965, and it's hard to imagine what you are going through now, but I want to encourage you to keep on creating. Creating has uplifted me in so many ways and given me the inspiration to keep going. I remember times when I'd come home from my 9 to 5 job exhausted and would pick up my brush and get a whole new life. So don't let the current situation get you down. Pick up that brush or chisel or brayer or whatever you use and get renewed. We'll all get through this together and art will contribute to that in a big way.
Congratulations to all of you for getting this far. Keep on keeping on and stay safe.
My painting is called "Six Feet."
Brooklyn, New York
Events & Space Use Manager, St. Ann & the Holy Trinity
Be flexible! I knew making art would be hard, but I also knew that finding a job would be key (I could eat! Pay the rent! Go out sometimes!). My biggest piece of advice is to TALK TO PEOPLE! This is how you build your community. It can also be how you get really interesting jobs. I talked to a neighbor in NYC and ended up managing the office of the oldest printmaking studio in the country. From there, I kept in touch with one of the artists and worked for him. Then I worked for his dealer and became the director of her gallery for 18 years. Now I work managing all kinds of cultural events at St. Ann's like The Moth, book talks with Zadie Smith, Mona Eltahawy, DeRay Mckesson, and Steven King, concerts with Patti Smith, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes, and theater projects with Theater of War. I love the work I do, and guess what—I still make art. I show sometimes and even sell sometimes! Keep going, but keep talking, too!
Sam Fox and I graduated in 1951!!! That year I was awarded the John T. Milliken Travel Scholarship, and Sam continued to excel in business and contribute to WashU. I feel it is important to realize that your education, along with your endeavors, were made possible primarily because of Sam Fox... He made 'things' happen! I am so sorry that you will not experience the usual graduation ceremony. It is certainly a major disappointment! However, you will be extremely proud to be a graduate of WashU.
Charlotte Obst Barbaresi
Personal Stylist, J. Hilburn
I am so sorry the end of your year was taken from you. I know you had big things planned, celebrations of all your hard work. You deserved that. I hope right now you are creating, using this time to further your art and explore the way you see the world. I hope you will share it with us. I would love to see your paintings, drawings, fashion, sculptures, photography. I want to see it all! Know that all of the alums are so proud of what you have achieved so far, and we know this experience will inform your creations in ways that you will come to see as wonderful in time. You will come out stronger; we all will. Wishing you health and happiness!
Brooklyn, New York
Artists have a "Sense of Invention," and today, need as well a philosophy of "Expecting the Unexpected!" As a 1965 WashU graduate with a BFA in painting, I recommend remaining open to new technology and adapting to re-education to develop new skills. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to study U4ia, a CAD program originally developed for aeronautical texture mapping (and also, in conjunction, Photoshop) in order to utilize these skills towards a career in textile print design! As an offshoot idea, I stacked up in CAD programs my ink drawings of wild plants from the Hawthorne Conservation Area to create, in gouache watercolor, a new approach towards paintings, which to my surprise, were juried into exhibitions at The State Capital in Pennsylvania, The Watercolor Honor Society in Springfield, The Brooklyn Waterfront Artists Coalition, and Salmagundi, in New York City.
Best of luck to Washington University graduates!
Los Angeles, California
Los Angeles Program Director, ProjectArt
I am the LA Program Director for ProjectArt. We, like so many, took our content online. One of my teachers didn't skip a beat and started Zoom classes with his teens. I joined in, and it was a wonderful meditative experience, and I'm so glad the bond with his students has not faded. I hope you know you will always have the bond of your fellow classmates, regardless of what is currently happening. This has been a wonderful time to reconnect with my friends from WashU, as well. We will all keep doing wonderful things in this world despite the "schedule change."
My first boss told me that the reason he hired me had nothing to do with my portfolio. "Oh, it's not that it wasn't a good portfolio!" he assured me when I looked distressed by the suggestion that my body of work wasn't much of an asset. "I hired you because you were so poised during your interview."
The reason that I could come off as "poised" in that situation was because I had just graduated from a prestigious school with an incredibly rigorous curriculum: WashU. My professors had lived in the world that they were preparing me for. I got a really solid education. As I met other young artists trying to enter the advertising business, it was clear WashU had given me a leg up. I had more skills, a stronger work ethic, an internship on my resume, and a portfolio that demonstrated I was ready for the work.
You have all of that and more, no doubt. Take heart. Go forth with confidence, poise even. You have a leg up. These four years of very hard work have been worth it!
The last words Professor Ron Leax spoke to me the week before I graduated in 2001 were, "Never give in." It set a concluding stamp on a chunk of memory I banked in my brain from my favorite mentor. I wrote it down at the time, and I am glad to have that memory to draw strength from when I need it most.
May you, the graduates of 2020, find ways to remember the essential lessons your mentors at WashU created for you. This hiccup in your progress as a creative soul will only make you more determined to never give in.
It's okay to mourn what didn't happen. It's okay to mourn the lost opportunities. It's okay. Then take yourself out into the world with a strong sense of what matters—your community, caring for others, bringing brightness into a world where things feel murky. Your creativity matters. It can be an outlet for you, and the things you share can be a gift for those of us who are struggling through this with you. Take it from someone from the class of 2007, who graduated into the great recession—this too will pass. Sending love and hope for a bright future for you.
Los Angeles, California
Assistant Curator, Skirball Cultural Center
I suspect when you thought about graduating with your BFA, you probably were not imagining that you'd be showing your work digitally and having your final crits on Zoom. Regardless, the hard facts of these strange times do not detract from what you have accomplished. You have worked hard, bonded with your classmates, and certainly you've learned something along the way, I hope.
I hope that you will continue to work through this difficulty to turn it into a rich source for your practice, as artists have always done. Design lifesaving devices, speak truth to power, ferment new expressive movements, and create beautiful (yes, I said it) images, objects, and products that will bring comfort and joy to people who need it.
Most of all, I hope you cherish your special tribe of art school weirdos, even if it's just over a computer screen. Hopefully you can reunite in person soon enough!
Until then, I hope you and your loved ones stay healthy, and please stop touching your face so much.
I can't imagine how difficult this last few weeks have been for you all. I hope that you know that you have a community of alumni in your corner. If you need something, don't hesitate to reach out.
This time brings all kinds of challenges, not just financial, but also mental. During this time, I've found myself returning to art and creativity. I make things for myself to focus my anxious energy. And I enjoy seeing the community of musicians, artists, cooks, designers, makers come together to create things that are needed, both emotionally and physically, out of limited supplies. That has been inspiring. So, while it isn't the end of the year you had envisioned, know that your art is something you will always have and be able to take with you no matter what. Wishing you all the best!
To the class of 2020: Don't stop being creative dreamers! I graduated WashU not knowing what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted to somehow see the world. I found an internship program and bought a one-way ticket to Barcelona. I met great people, worked in design, was artistically inspired daily, learned fluent Spanish, and met the love of my life. Be smart, but have fun in the world... you never know where your bold choices will eventually take you and their impact on the rest of your life.
St. Louis, Missouri
Dear Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts Class of 2020,
This totally strange and unsettling situation you find yourselves in makes this graduation time very unique—and not in a good way. It is sad. It is so disappointing. It is a time you will never forget! None of us will! This uneasy situation will pass, and things will eventually get back to normal. You will tell your children and grandchildren about it and how you survived the Pandemic of 2020! You will tell them how you had to miss your graduation—completely—and how you were unable to display your art and have receptions for family members and friends to come admire your work. However, you did it! You've completed your education—for now, anyway. You have a right to be proud of your accomplishments in spite of the lack of ritual "pomp, and circumstance!" Be relieved. Be safe, be well!
Wishing you all the best now and for the future,
Carol Diaz-Granados, Ph.D. - BFA 1964, Cert. in Journalism 1966, MA 1980
Kansas City, Kansas
Associate Professor and Chair of Sculpture, Kansas City Art Institute
Adversity has the power to generate meaningful art. Remember that Frida Kahlo painted her cast while convalescing in bed. Arshile Gorky held his dying mother in his arms while the Armenian Genocide raged. Andre Breton returned from the front lines of WWI, embraced fear and absurdity to upend culture by birthing the surrealist movement. The journey each of these artists took led them through the way of love, and we are the beneficiaries of their imaginations unleashed by suffering.
It’s such a bummer not to be able to finish your last semester on the amazing WashU campus this spring. It’s a great loss, and I grieve for you, with you. Know, however, how lucky you are to be an artist. Being an artist and enjoying that will provide great solace your whole life. As you know from school projects, there is no one right solution. Most important is that you be yourself, use what you have, both inside and beside you, to make something that solves the problem, that approaches pleasing you. If it fails to do what you need it to, change it to make it better. That’s what an artist does.
Communicate with your colleagues, and your faculty mentors if that works for you. Use them and work on your own while remembering what you have learned. It’s the beginning of your life’s practice, which will always require that you do that. Then learn more.
Welcome to the strong community of WU alumni who are all over the map with what we have done with our educations. Congrats!
New York, New York
Co-Founder/Creative Lead, SpecialGuest.co
For the past dozen years, I have been running a creative studio that mostly produces video communications. Even a small video crew for a commercial production needs over 10 people congregating to get the right shots done. It's not possible to do that right now. Recently I listened in on a "town hall" call with video producers from all over the country, and I heard someone say that the result of this stalled moment will be a "race to the bottom," with producers needing to capture video content on their iPhones at home or collecting content from YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok to create video work. That phrase "race to the bottom" really stood out to me. It sounds depressing to anyone who might be very established in the creative industry. But for you, the students who will be stepping into the creative job market, it really means "race to the top." You will be the new growth pushing up from the ashes.
New York, New York
Associate Designer, Sarankco
While it was nontraditional, congrats to the Class of 2020 on graduating! Finishing senior year from quarantine is just further showing how your class can overcome challenges. I have faith that you all will come out of this crisis both as stronger people and better artists! People will need art more than ever during this time, so take advantage of your new skills! Lots of love from the Class of 2018.
Professor, Norwalk Community College
I think that artists are the most fortunate people in the world; never bored; always engaged. We are free to think whatever we want to think. Art is an endless dialogue that traverses time and geography. My conversation with my work and others has continued over 50 years. I wake up looking forward to what I will see, learn, and produce tomorrow.
You are so lucky to be at the beginning of this wonderful journey.
Maplewood, New Jersey
Fine Arts Professor, Seton Hall University
Dear Sam Fox Class of 2020,
Stay healthy and I hope your loved ones are safe.
I'm sure many of you are unimaginably frustrated and your dreams feel like they have gone astray. But I am confident that all of you will rise, stare down, and overcome all of the challenges presented during this unprecedented moment in history. The world will be profoundly different at the end of this saga and you, as the first artists and visionaries of a new generation, will define and shape our next steps.
Hang on and charge forward.
Prof. Moss Freedman
Fine Arts instructor, Seton Hall University
Wash U. MFA 94
To the Class of 2020,
My father informed me in April 1970 that he would help me bring my paintings home from WashU one week before graduation. Like you, many of us missed having the closure of graduation due to Vietnam War demonstrations. I was looking forward to your graduation so I could find that closure, but again I will miss graduation. This time around, however, I know that life is a journey with unexpected turns—joyous times along with excruciating experiences and disappointments that make that journey deeper and more rich. You've all spent the last four years immersed in the arts. You learned to give your journey a voice. The disappointment you feel today will pale as you use the gift you've experienced at WashU to give voice to your thoughts and experiences. Look ahead to a fulfilling life for yourself. Look ahead to a life with which you'll be able to give to the people you love, and you'll be able to help make the world a better place.
St. Augustine, Florida
Retired, Hallmark Artist and Freelance Children's Book Illustrator
As a member of the Class of 1970 School of Fine Arts majoring in illustration and design, I wish you much success in the world of art as you graduate. When I attended WashU, it was during the height of Pop Art and Op Art. Many art schools were focused on experimental art. But at WashU's School of Fine Arts, the basics of figure drawing and design were being taught. I remember a professor saying that it was up to us to break our own ground in art and that knowing the basics was at the root of all art. I was glad for that. Even though I knew that I was going to become an illustrator who wanted to do stylized children's art, all those tough anatomy classes and design projects gave me a solid foundation. I had great professors that pushed me to go beyond what I thought I was capable of and taught me to look and think beyond the surface of things. I went on to become a Hallmark artist and children's book illustrator. I will always cherish those four years of learning at Bixby Hall.
Los Angeles, California
My love of the arts—all of the arts: painting, cinema, photography, poetry, drama, etc.—has sustained me all of my life. The wonderful education I received at the Art Institute of Chicago Junior School (1958–1965) and at the Washington University in St. Louis School of Fine Arts (1965–1969) truly has resonated in me throughout the years.
Dorothy Tanning says it well: "Art has always been the raft onto which we climb to save our sanity. I don't see a different purpose for it now."
Please go out into our wounded world and create art that will heal. That is what we need now more than ever. Art of all kinds holds that promise and capability. I believe it. And I believe in you.
With Love and Good Wishes,
Kristin Glover, BFA 1969
P.S.: The image I share with you was taken while in residence at the Paris WU studio in '08. It was taken on film with a 1947 WideLux camera given to me by one of my mentors and dear friends, Haskell Wexler. I call the photo "Le Chef Takes a Break."
Morris Eminent Scholar in Art, Augusta University;
Director, Ernest G. Welch School of Art and Design, Georgia State University
Soon you will be receiving your degree from Washington University and the Sam Fox School, and that is an accomplishment that the current situation cannot lessen. Congratulations on achieving that success!
Although this seems like a very hard time to envision meeting the many goals you have set for yourself, history tells us that events like the pandemic we are all experiencing inspire some people to do amazing things. That person can be you!
This is an excellent time to take advantage of working in your studio. Under normal circumstances distractions might keep you from studio work. Many artists I know have said that in hard times, it is their studio work that gets them through. It is true for me. I hope it will be true for you, too. When our current situation ends, you will be ready to be an active participant and make your career in the arts.
My best wishes for your future success!
Cheryl Goldsleger, MFA 1975
My heart goes out to you! You have had your final year, the pinnacle of your educational experience, completely upended. Know that the family of alumni embrace and support you. It is ok to grieve the loss of these special experiences, but after the tears have been shed, delight in the journey. While it may be different than you planned and is much less than ideal, it is a part of your story—your generation's story. Do not let this diminish your accomplishments! Do what you know how to do best: create! Build on this story and allow it to grow you and your work into something stronger. Allow it to be a flame that fuels your sense of purpose and direction. Share your story. Build community. Tap into all the skills the talented SFS faculty have been nurturing in you. Allow your work to bring introspection to the moment, order to the chaos, and comfort to the suffering. Create a movement of change and a vision of hope for a brighter future. You are powerful!
Los Angeles, CA
Owner, Monkey Deux Inc.
As someone who graduated almost 25 years ago, I can tell you that over those years I've never once told anyone, nor have I heard a particularly good story, about a graduation ceremony. You've got a great story to tell about a time in your life that literally everyone living today will remember and relate to. It's a great ice-breaker. Congratulations, Class of 2020.
Chief Executive Artivist, The W.E. A.L.L. B.E. Group, Inc.
Your Life Is A Movie 🎥 🍿 🎞...You Are The Screenwriter, Producer, Director, Soundtrack Composer, & ⭐️ Star Mane...You Can Pick The Genre, The Theme & You Can Even At Times Decide The Ending (Director’s Cut Is Possible)… However, Whatever You Decide To Do, Make Sure To Make It Interesting, Watchable, Memorable & Worthy Of Your Talents... In Other Words, Make It A Blockbuster!!! SEE HOW IT WORKS??? WE 🖤 U MADLY CLASS OF 2020!!!
#R2c2h2Says #ThaArtivist #WUSTLClassOf2002
Dearest Class of 2020,
There is no denying this is really tough. No matter what your personal circumstances are, society is turning on its side. This is really uncomfortable. Let yourself feel the disappointment. Take good care of your body, mind, and spirit; they are your dearest asset. Since things aren't business as usual, you can be even more innovative. You have an advantage in being able to dig deep.
Try new things
Listen to people you value
Follow your creative impulse
Come together with others. School friends can be among your closest and best resources once you leave school. Foster those relationships.
Expect ups and lows repeatedly. That's my experience in more than 30 years since my education. Some of you will continue to make, some won't, and some will return to the arts when it's a better time for you. That's natural, and it's okay.
Sincere wishes for the well-being of you and of others,
Shaker Heights, Ohio
Art Teacher, Cleveland Metropolitan School District
Congratulations on completing an art or architecture degree. I know you worked hard, slept little, and occasionally cried after (or during) critiques. Your final semester probably didn't go the way you had envisioned, and it's okay to grieve that loss. But now it's time for you to navigate your life as an artist, designer, creator, or what-have-you, and that is exciting! It's okay to take a break from creating and come back to it later, but I highly recommend finding a community to engage with, be it real or virtual, that will keep you grappling with creative challenges. Congratulations again, stay safe, and best wishes for wherever you're headed next!
Brooklyn, New York
Dear Class of 2020,
I went to WashU for an MFA in sculpture program from 2003 to 2005.
Before that, I was in the middle of apprenticeship of Japanese lacquer craft art in Japan. But I decided to come to the US to improve my English for some issues.
Things changed 180-degrees for my unexpected life experience. At the age of 27, I instead had to take art class in New Orleans and ended up earning a BFA. It changed my career, as I then pursued my MFA.
When I decided to study art at age of 27, I was extremely anxious and even in a foreign country. It was not my first choice, and I did not know much of the future career path...
Fifteen years later, I am now a professional artist in New York City with a two year-old baby! This COVID-19 emergency time: all of my job were gone even, ugh. But I am so thankful to have life now. Even if it was not by natural cause, my detour life probably has given me more enriched experience and makes it easier to get over some struggles.
Be safe first. Don't worry about school; rather, do what you can do!
Here is my impression of the Via Dolorosa (Way of the Cross) in Old Jerusalem. "Via Dolorosa" (Acrylic 12" x 16")(1998). Today, Via Dolorosa is a bustling thoroughfare. But the solemn aspects of the sorrowful way are still present with preserved stations of Christ's torturous path to his crucifixion and resurrection, purportedly where the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is now located. Carol and I were in Jerusalem in 1998, along with our photographer son Curtis and his wife, Deborah. Good company; magnificent experience.
Best regards and best of good luck to the class of 2020! Stay well!
Cedric Hustace, Honorary Member of Class of 1955
Carol (Jameton) Hustace, Member of Class of 1955 - BFA '55 (Fashion Design), MAT '72 (Education)
Los Angeles, California
Sometimes the strangest, seemingly darkest times are when the seeds are planted for the greatest creativity and growth. Allow for the experience of loss and retreat, and all levels of reconsideration, knowing it is only an unexpected winter—and some day, however far in the future, there will be a balance of unexpected spring and summer.
St. Louis, Missouri
Let my personal story be my message:
I am an immigrant mother-artist who lost her only job and a major art-public speaking opportunity. But I continue to create, perhaps to stay sane, and for my child.
In difficult times, it is our art that keeps us alive. Keep creating. This too shall pass.
Director of Recruitment and Outreach, University of Arkansas School of Art
Hello Class of 2020!
I hope you are all well and safe during this time. There are no words to make sense of this. And I'm also not going to try to chalk it up to a "new normal," as this is far from anything we could have expected.
What I will do is tell you that you are incredible. In a time that should be stressful because of mostly good things that come along with graduation and exhibitions, you've had to pivot to now addressing needs that may have come up for you about food insecurity, unemployment, health care, all while trying to stay productive and mentally healthy.
But we're artists. Navigating complex situations with few resources: We've been there. When given a task, we are resourceful and understand that the work takes time. Please know that I am thinking of you and hope that you're doing okay. Things will not always be this way, but I have to hope that we'll come out better and more connected.
Stay safe and hopeful, and ask for help! We're here!
Fashion Design Students of the Class of 2020,
So sorry for you that the fashion show was cancelled, as well as your graduation and all of the festivities that accompany these special events. Maybe they can have an Internet fashion show where your projects can be photographed and shared. I was so looking forward to my 50th class reunion for the class of 1970 and seeing many friends from all over the US and overseas. WashU does a great job with reunions, and my husband and I attended his 50th last year. If nothing else gets planned, at least you will have reunions to look forward to.
Thinking of you,
Cheryl Dowd Jordan, BFA 1970
St. Louis, Missouri
Cheers to you all!
I know the future seems more unknown than it ever has been, but it has always been unknown: Our narratives of it make it feel controlled.
Things will always happen that completely change the direction of your life. For me, it was going to a conference as a volunteer right after graduating from WashU and meeting someone who raved about the program they just graduated from. Four years later I had sold most of what I had and boarded a one-way flight to a graduate program I never visited in Reading, England (photo from that time at our local pub). I had no idea what would come of making that leap. It was scary, but it turned into a career I would have never expected or foreseen.
You have accomplished much already; more is to come. All my best to you and the unknown. May both surprise us in delightful ways!
South Bend, Indiana
Dear Class of 2020,
Just like college I have put off writing this until crunch time when I'd "cram" for exams, projects due, etc. Washington University gave me a solid foundation in art, one that served me well. I taught art for 29 years in the public schools. During those years I exhibited professionally both in group and one-person shows. I was the state chairperson for the Women's Caucus for Art and volunteer exhibits chair for a gallery. Wow, sorry to go on, but my art training has served me well, and I trust will carry you throughout your career. Just this year, I was a featured artist in For the Love of Art Fair in South Bend, Indiana at age 78.
I wish you all well and encourage you to keep making art.
Natalie Klein, Class of ’64
Lambertville, New Jersey
Publisher, Art and Architecture, Princeton University Press
It can be challenging coming out of college at any time. There isn't always a clear path to the next thing, no matter the world's circumstances. But artists and visual thinkers are more able than many to create or forge their own paths, rather than follow existing ones. Times of major transition can also present new opportunities, ways of thinking, and ways of being in the world. The world needs these new approaches now more than ever. If this seems daunting, take small steps. A lot of small steps equal a route, and a route is built over a duration of time.
When I graduated no one could have told me where I'd be in five years. It was a field, book publishing, with which I was only vaguely familiar. I did not land here right away, the process took four years, and began much earlier, before I was even aware of it. You are already on your way. Congratulations, graduates—we welcome and need your energy, spirit, innovation, and dedication, now more than ever.
Brooklyn, New York
Congratulations! I was so impressed by the work I saw when I was last at WashU for my 45th reunion. I was a painting major in 1973 with an eye toward becoming a costume designer. WashU encouraged my work with the Drama Department as well as on my painting. I'm happy to say that 44 years later I am still a costume designer, and I still enjoy painting! I've been able to make a living while considering myself an artist. I encourage all of you to continue being creative in this time of the plague. It, too, will pass, and you may find something within yourselves that you can express and help heal the world. Art can change hearts and minds. I've witnessed it and believe you can be the agents for hope and change as well. I wish you all good luck and hope you will find and live your dreams.
To my fellow WashU artists, architects, and creative minds,
Having had the pleasure and the honor to pursue my undergraduate and graduate studies at Washington University, I am aware of challenges, both intellectual and academic, required of your program. You are now approaching the successful conclusion of your exciting journey.
Allow me to congratulate you for your wonderful achievement. I want to tell you that you should feel nothing but pride in achieving your hard-earned goals. Your discoveries, projects, and theses are no less powerful than any others done prior, regardless of these exceptional times we live in. As a matter of fact, your success is to be credited more so now than in years past. This is the way I see it: In these exceptional times, the world needs exceptional leaders. The world needs you. Welcome!!!
Goran Maric, Alumni
BFA / MFA Washington U.
All artists are dreamers, and more often than not, those dreams have a foundation somewhere. For me, the foundation of my dreams was at Washington University's School of Fine Art. In all probability, my dreams for the most part were no different from those of my classmates. My dreams centered on achieving recognition as an artist, with art gallery representation in New York City. On a second track, the dream was to become a professor of art, teaching painting and sculpture in a university art department or art school.
The art gallery never materialized, but teaching as a Professor of Art at the University of Pennsylvania and University of Virginia did.
Often our dreams are sidetracked by an opportunity that can become the success we long for. In 1972, the opportunity for me came creating the first nonprofit art gallery in the state of Virginia. With the financial help of local business men, the Second Street Gallery, a civic minded project, became a huge success and is in operation today.
Brooklyn, New York
Senior Software Engineer, SmartAsset
Hello from New York, from an Art School Class of 2003 alumna. When I think of how to confront this moment we're all living through, especially from the perspective of a graduating senior, I reflect on some of the advice I've been given in difficult moments. One in particular stands out: I was a sophomore in 2001 when the planes hit the World Trade Center. Two days later in a dance comp class, we sat in a circle to talk about how we were doing. Our professor, David Marchant, encouraged us and said there's no right or wrong way to feel right now. You can be sad or confused; it's also ok if you look for escape and try to find joy in order to cope. Nearly 19 years later, I'm remembering and applying that same advice as we live through this pandemic. Laugh and cry with your loved ones. Wallow in sadness if it helps. We will get through this. Along the way do your best to be kind to yourself. Happy graduation, Class of 2020! The best is yet to come.
San Francisco, California
Dear Class of 2020,
My best wishes to you all as you graduate into this strange new world. We will get back to normal as we have in the past after other difficult times, but I wonder how your career path and creative expression will be changed and enhanced by this collective experience. Will you remember the importance of connection, kindness, preparation, and imagination? You will get through this, you will thrive, and you will do important work. We look forward to seeing it happen.
Assistant Professor & Art Ed Coordinator, Tennessee State University
To the Class of 2020,
Sending well wishes to you as this journey is changing in ways you probably never expected and then some! Life is and will always be in full force, moving you to act, grow, and become better with each new adventure. The education I received from WashU was more than enough to put me on the right track of self-discovery. Each decision I made post graduation led me closer to becoming a better person, educator, and creator.
Never stop dreaming, learning, growing, and finding your way. Once you find that spark that really gets you going, you'll see that each step was meant for you to embark on and experience. You are creators—so create the life you've always wanted and continue to authentically impact the world and those around you in ways that only you can imagine! I wish you all the best that life has to offer.
Blessings and peace in abundance.