It was the final art project of the semester and our senior year. Graduation, hopefully, would happen with a positive finale for me. What we were challenged to do was to pick our choice of a unique project to sum up every nuance of what we learned and blend it all together. This would consolidate and put into perspective everything we took in over the past two years. This two year college was the way I chose to follow my art. Short and sweet. How it would play out in the long run was an open road. Who knew where it would lead? The variety of classes under the description of Commercial Art were very appealing and I went in with a full positive attitude. I had no idea of the future and what my calling would bring. This was a start. So here we were, at the end of the days that turned into two years, to bring it all to the table with a final hurrah. It was a huge undertaking with an overload of information to understand, comprehend and put down with artistic panache on the final plate. Our Commercial Art class was buzzing with chatter until the teacher, Miss Parker, called it to order with her famous loud baritone voice. She began to describe the baseline and theme of the projects and then strode around the classroom. She spoke, accentuating each part, as to what was expected to highlight our grand end to the time spent at this all-women college. As she handed each one a folder of the two choice descriptions, she paused at my table and purposely waited until I looked up. There with her glassy eyed stare, she handed me my folders adding an obvious smirk. I placed them down and they sat before me like cold black and white slabs. Then she began her noted spiel as she stepped up to the podium. "Students," she began with an undeniable hoity toity tone when speaking to her roomful of us minions. Her favorites, however, were pumped up and ready to please her highness at all costs as this was an obvious feeling and not the first time this has happened in the art room. Am I being overly judgmental as to what I suspected might happen with this project? From the very beginning I felt looked down upon. There was never enough of whatever I was attempting to learn and put into practice that was at her level. One time she accused me, in front of everyone, of nodding off in class. It was her monotone over and over where I did close my eyes hoping it would pass. Was I the only one that she purposely made note of to where she opted to point a finger?
And here we go. On to the final project. The choice was either, one, design a museum of exceptional quality and style or, two, create the look and design of a homestead complete with landscaping. Each of these choices had to have the exterior image and look of the buildings sketched and then drawn with perfect details capturing each part of the final look. Then the next part was to add the blueprint of each room, each floor and any exterior building or addition of whatever that separate building added to the final overall picture. This was a huge undertaking. Did I know enough about each step to make this a professional design and my A+ end to the year? The foundation, walls, roof design along with room sizes the purpose of each had to flow to make it an architectural masterpiece. Details were over the top. Electrical outlets and current flow for each purpose needed to be thought through and designated in a proper format to the existing lay of the electricity in the proposed area. Water entering into the building for various needs had to have a complete balance to what water source was available in the chosen location. The heat source was another thought to the dynamics of the structure. Frank Lloyd Wright was my mentor all along the way, as his work spoke to me. The art of design in the many areas was his balance to the final picture. Organic Architecture was his way to design in harmony with humanity and the environment. Seeing some of his work in person was absolutely amazing.
My other mentor, whom I look back to this day, in his stunning art flow with everything he did, was my grandfather. He was a career landscape architect for many years for Frederick Law Olmstead until he decided to go his own way into more 'stick building'. Every opportunity in a building he designed was always enhanced with his blend of landscaping . He had long retired and passed away when my college days began. I must have absorbed his artistic side where subtly abounded in so many ways that even to this day I feel his presence when I sit at his drawing table.
Back to my final moment. What ever was I thinking? To do what I planned could have put me in jeopardy and end up with a red F. But I did it to prove that some people do not have the skill to work with their students to create better artists towards a career path. Wasn't that the purpose of this program and art college? Her knowledge was not up to college level. Even I could feel it.
So, I gathered blueprints, drawings, and every layer of design of a homestead that my grandfather had designed and built. It was his own home where my grandmother, my mom and my uncle lived when they were in school. The landscaping was purposeful to the lay of the property just as if Frank was giving him advice. I submitted the package and didn't think twice about the consequences should anything go wrong and I was found out. I told no one. It was my way to be at peace with myself knowing that someday my path will shine towards my own successes.
A week later we all received the outcome of our efforts and the conclusion of the Commercial Art course that was the make or break towards graduation. I was awarded a C+. I shook my head and could only think of one thing to do but I had to hold back from giving her the address to my family's home, designed and built by a seasoned architect who graduated from Harvard with a Fellowship to study Architectural Design in Europe.
The take away from my choice of a two year college and Commercial Art as my Major was that when push came to shove, I opted to stay the course, for better or worse. Was my course teacher pushing me in a way to strive to be better by her negative attitude I felt towards me? What was I thinking in the way I subtly chose to get back at her? This was so not me and how did I decide to go for it, come hell or high water? Did I cheat myself in the long run? Lesson learned. In the road of life, there will be people who do things to make you react. How you choose to let that happen can either, make you look past the moment or go with the flow. Say your peace but move forward to do better in positive ways.