Updated on 1/27/2011 4:11:19 PM.
In Spring 2010, Next Steps at Vanderbilt students worked with artist-in-residence Elizabeth Garlington at Vanderbilt’s Sarratt Art Studios to create collages that expressed their unique selves and their aspirations. “Reflections in Collage/Reflections in College” is an exhibit of these collages, which is currently on display at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. On January 24, a reception was held to celebrate the exhibit, its artists, and Mrs. Mary Jane Swaney, whose generous support made the program possible.
Mrs. Swaney spoke to the gathered students, parents, and guests. “Their art means so much-it comes from the heart,” she said. Representing the program, Andrew Van Cleave and Elizabeth Story presented Mrs. Swaney with a collage the students had made for her.
Three panelists spoke of the role of the arts in the lives of persons with disabilities. For the last several years, Andee Rudloff, art educator at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, has led art projects at VKC summer camps. “Making art is about a conversation and building relationships,” she said. She spoke of the joy she witnessed at campers created their paintings. David Heustess, assistant director of Vanderbilt’s Department of Studio Arts, affirmed the importance of the Sarratt Art Studios being open to all. “We all have stories, and art gives voice to our stories,” he said. Elisabeth Dykens, VKC director and a psychologist, told how she discovered the therapeutic power of art early in her career as she worked with young children who had been abused. She emphasized interest in nurturing the growth of the arts in VKC programming-visual arts, as in this exhibit, and performing arts, for example SENSE Theatre and the ACM Lifting Lives Foundation Music Camp in Summer 2011.
The reception ended with songwriters Tammy Vice and Trent Jeffcoat performing an original song “Next Step,” which they co-wrote with Next Steps at Vanderbilt students.
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