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Arts on view
by Beverly Harrison Miller 67
Alumni Association President
A love of art was an unexpected gift Skidmore gave me as a student.
I spent first through twelfth grades hating art. I couldnt do art, and my art teacher regularly underscored that. Only once did one of my creations make it to the hallway bulletin board, but even then in dismal last place: bottom row, far right. It was such a signal event that I still remember, forty-five years later, that it was a picture of brownstones in New York City (I thought maybe I could draw a house and have it be recognizable).
That I hated art class more than the dreaded chemistry and math classes shows the depth of my feeling. At least I had a chance of understanding some math and some chemistry. I saw no chance that I could draw anything that resembled reality. (Still cant.)
When I went off to Skidmore, I viewed my life as a tabula rasa. Art of course permeates the campus, and so I signed up for the art history course for nonmajors when I was a sophomore. We called it Cocktail Artwe learned enough to be able to talk somewhat knowledgeably about art at a cocktail party.
In fact, I learned not only about the history of art, and about artists, but about textures, proportions, and color. I was entranced, and selected American art and architecture as emphases in my American studies major.
Only recently, as I looked at my front gardena weaving of colors and textures, heights and placementsI realized that I can indeed do art, and I learned it from those art history courses at Skidmore. I can take the raw materials of plants and create beauty that lasts from early spring here in New England until past first frost.
As well from those courses, I developed a continuing interest in architecture and have lived in antique housesa federal house in Charleston, a row house in Bostons South End, a colonial in Concord. Several years ago at the end of a long trip, we went out of our way to see Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wrights splendid house near Pittsburgh.
These are my unexpected gifts from Skidmore. This fall a new contingent of first-year students has just arrived on campus, and I know that theyll each graduate with their own unexpected gifts.
|Help shape Skidmores next 100 years by including the college in your estate plans
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