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Art School and the Future by Helen Chappell

My mother was horrified when I told her I wanted to go to art school. “You’ll be running around with disreputable people and wearing nasty, paint-stained clothes,” she gasped. I don’t know which bothered her more, disreputable people (you know ~ Bohemians, people who drank cheap red wine and played bongo drums and were, in her imagination, Communists) or the idea of clothing spattered with paint, because you know, it was not you she was mad at, it was the dirt. Not that my parents knew any artists, mind you, but they watched TV and read LIFE magazine and thought they had a pretty good idea of what those beatnik hippies were up to. I don’t recall if we even had any significant art in our house. Some dreary prints, a nondescript painting of an Amsterdam f lower market ~ stuff like that. Although my father, if he was in a good mood and had his evening martini, was known to sketch out cartoons on a napkin for my amusement. And he wasn’t untalented. But a career in the arts? I may as well have hung out on a street corner, offering myself for sale. So, when I needed some studio

credits to graduate from college, and heard about the cutting-edge School of the Visual Arts in New York, I was off and gone to the big city. By then, my parental units had given up hope for me. I’d never join the country club; marry a guy with a good job; pop out 2.5 grandchildren and drive a station wagon. If I got my M.R.S. degree in nursing or teaching, they would have been satisfied. 9

Tidewater Times March 2016  
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