From the Director: Helping our Students See

By Diane Brigham, Executive Director

A core component of Ryman Arts is of course drawing, particularly from observation.  As you can see in the exhibition now on view at Maker City LA, Ryman Arts artists can rock it. They’ve got talent, but more than that they put in hours of practice to hone that talent and sharpen those skills; and perhaps surprisingly, frequently have to overcome a lot of self-doubt along the way.

Maribel Hernandez, Ryman '16

Drawing has many benefits, but key to it all is that drawing trains us to SEE. When you draw, you see more, you see more deeply, and you see in a more nuanced way.  And not only do you see more, but you help the rest of us see more – see more beauty, detail  and meaning in the world as a result of your creation. Artists at Ryman Arts share views no one else has ever seen, and express ideas no one else has thought of before. While at Ryman Arts, our students also help their peers see more, and further refine their drawings. In critiques they have encouraged and challenged each other, making everyone’s work better.

Oia Walker-Van Aalst, Ryman '16

What may be harder for us to see is, I think, an even more valuable aspect of the Ryman Arts experience—how sustained effort, pursuing personal challenges, and a supportive artistic community -- changed each graduate on the inside, fostering self-confidence, building tenacity, demonstrating  grit. A student wrote how after seeing how good others were here on the first day of class, she had to force herself not to run out the studio door. But she had a talk with herself, and decided to stay just for that day. Then she had that little talk with herself again the next week, and again the next week, and soon she realized she had exceeded her own expectations, was graduating from Ryman Arts and heading off to college with a scholarship.

Zion Walker-Johnson, Ryman '16

Now each of our Ryman Arts graduates can share their gifts with the world. The rest of us will benefit from their unique ways of seeing, and their creative thinking. As we launch another class of Ryman Arts graduates, all are better prepared to draw their own futures.

Come see the Student Exhibition on view at Maker City LA through Friday, June 24, when the show closes at 6 pm. 

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Diane was recently featured in the Los Angeles Business Journal, see the piece here.