Friday, August 19, 2011


Serendipity: The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way; the faculty or phenomenon of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for

Today, I needed to visit an art exhibit. Easy enough! Not really, it wasn’t easy for me. I have a mild social anxiety disorder that limits what I think I can do. I struggle with busy places and new adventures. Photography has helped me tremendously! I guess I think I can hide behind the camera. It’s still hard though, to get out and to enter the unknown. Sometimes I just need an extra push. I got that push from Kat in our current assignment for Find Your Eye e-course. We were to find an art exhibit where we could study different pieces of art.  We were to get out of our space and explore other forms of art. That meant we couldn't use the internet for our assignment. I’m so glad she said that, those words pushed me to visit a museum. We were to notice how the art effected us, what appealed to us, and what didn‘t. Then, we were to reflect on our experiences and record our thoughts. We'll be using this experience in our photo journal next week.
I choose to visit the Arkansas Art Museum. That sounded safe to me, quiet with no crowds. Yes, it was safe, but that didn’t keep away my fears. I thought of all kinds of excuses not to go…I really don’t feel well…my head hurts…it’s too hot outside…I could do this another day…it might not be safe downtown. It took a lot of determination to get out the door. As I drove I experienced the usual rapid heart beat, the nausea and the dry mouth. I took a deep breath and began to think about photography and art.

Then,I decided to treat myself to lunch at Community Bakery before I went to the museum. I have been there several times and love the atmosphere It’s in an old brick building and when you open the door that wonderful bakery smell greets you and draws you right in. I’d forgotten just how good their chicken salad sandwich on a croissant is. As I sat down, I looked up at the wall beside me. Much to my delight, there was a collection of oil paintings by a local artist, Susie Henley. Serendipity!!  Just what I needed…art to look at. I studied them while I ate and took notes on my experience. By then, all nervousness and all fears were gone. I was having a lovely day.

I arrived at the Art Center and discovered I was just in time for a guided tour of a Norman Rockwell exhibit. Serendipity again!!! I knew the exhibit was there, but I didn’t know there was a guided tour. To my surprise, I knew the tour guide. We had gone to church together several years ago. She was a knowledgeable and delightful guide! After the tour I explained why I was there and she even gave me her tour notes. How sweet was that!

And guess what!! Each of Norman Rockwell pieces was paired with black and white photographs taken by Kevin Rivoli. Serendipity!! Third time!!  Paintings and photographs side by side!! Rivoli is a photo journalist that photographs “Rockwell” type moments. Both Rockwell’s and Ravoli’s art depict ordinary moments in ordinary days. They document life values in small town America. They want us to identify with something in their work, whether it be at home, school, work, or church. And identify I did! I loved both of their works. They brought feelings of nostalgia and love and family. I went around the exhibit with the tour and then again by myself, spending more time and reading all the information.

I also toured another section of the museum that had a variety of artists and artwork. These included oils, charcoals, pen and ink, collages, sculptures, and glass work. I sat in the quiet, studied the art, and took notes on what pleased me and what didn’t. I can’t wait until we find out what Kat will have us doing with our reflections on art!

I couldn't leave without buying a book about the Rockwell exhibit and a post card featuring artwork by Monet. From the half price table, I bought a pair of silver earrings and a child's book on art called "Children: A First Art Book."

Perfect Day!!
Thank you, Kat, for getting me out of my home, for pushing me out of my comfort zone, and for being the reason I had a wonderful day!


  1. I absolutely feel your joy and relate to the social anxiety turned glee feeling - it's almost BETTER because it's so hard to do, getting out there I mean. Sounds delightful!

  2. Well done, glad you had a great idea- I think that Norman Rockwell/Ken Rivoli art/photo thing looks really interesting.

  3. This post really touched me. I'm glad your day turned out to be so wonderfully rewarding.

  4. awesome post... it must be exhilarating to have accomplished so much... getting out of the house, eating lunch out (cute diner! btw), connecting with the museum docent, and viewing some art exhibits! way to go!

  5. I agree with seabluelee...this post is very inspiring in many ways! It is a testament to what great things can happen when we overcome our fears and step out of that oh so comfy comfort zone!

  6. Brilliant, Cathy.. Even though you started out anxious, it's amazing how open you were to a satisfying day.. I also love Rockwell, and identified similarly when I saw a Grandma Moses exhibit in college.

  7. Oh, Cathy, I'm so filled with joy and excitement for your experience! This is just what I was hoping would happen. It's so fun and enjoyable to get out and experience art, I'm glad you were able to overcome your fears to make this happen. I wish I could see that exhibit! What a great learning opportunity!


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