Jun 15, 2023 | My Thoughts

After more than 30 years of pecking away at my formal art education, I finally finished my degree. Those words cannot come close to expressing the magnitude of how this feels to me. I’m still, a month or more later, overwhelmed with gratitude for many of my professors over the years, my fellow students, my friends and family, and I’m incredibly proud of myself.

I went to Texas State University (TXST) in San Marcos, TX and am a proud Bobcat. It wasn’t my school of choice… No, I wanted to go to the University of Texas, Hook ‘Em Horns! The only reason I went to TXST is because at the urging of an ACC (Austin Community College) professor, I decided to take the plunge and I thought if I didn’t get into a school quickly, I’d get too scared of that “big university” thing and not go at all. So I went with the school I was fairly certain would take me. Isn’t it great how the universe knows more than we do? I am eternally grateful I went to TXST! Not only did I get an incredible art education by some of the best professors (and artists in their own right), but I also received training in real life skills like creating a grass roots exhibition, how to handle the finances of an artist, how to apply for grants, artist calls, and residencies, how to collaborate with artists from different genres, and how to have conversations about my art. As a grown ass adult who has been in business for most of my adult life you’d think I’d have known most of this but I was so intimidated. They gave me tools I desperately needed.

While at TXST, I developed friendships with several professors whom I hope to stay in touch with over the coming years. I also created some very close friendships with incredible, talented people, many more than half my age. You can see two of them in the photos! I didn’t walk the stage. Part of the program is to set up a student exhibition (we did almost all of the work, including fundraising, ourselves!) and that felt like my “graduation”. I just didn’t see the point in shaking hands with people I’d never seen and would never see again. Most of the people I love and admire most from TXST were at the exhibition and their pride in me was evident in their faces and in their words. That is graduating.

So what now? Now I focus on being an artist. I still have all of the support from my friends and family. I have support from many of my previous professors. And even after 30 years, I still absolutely love creating art. I’m deeply grateful for all of it and now it is time for me to use all of this knowledge to make better art. Let’s create something!