New Beginnings

What art has taught me is there is a story to everything, and every story starts somewhere in its own unique way. From there, the story unfolds a journey, or a realization. Artists write, paint, create music, etc., to release that message in a way that expresses his or her being and connects to someone. Art is a compilation of different perspectives coming into a concentrated form.

By being in Elan, I have been able to understand this greater than I ever have before. As one of the Art Editors, I have to pour over visual art pieces, select a handful, then pair the works to writing pieces. Looking at these pieces are always mesmerizing. They all have such power; they all show a struggle and a journey. I realized throughout this year that the quality of the art isn’t what is considered; it’s the meaning behind it. It’s about the artist expressing his or her past or internal self.

I officially learned about Elan in my Sophomore year of high school when I attended an event called Yellow House. It was an exhibit dedicated to the writing and visual art of young artists that had been accepted into Elan. Seeing the amount of raw, emotional talent and dedication that had been put into those pieces was just indescribable. I realized, then, how much art affects others. To the artist, it’s releasing something in their bones. To the person pouring over their work, they are discovering something in their bones. We look at art and we learn of a world we didn’t even know about.

Elan’s community engagement is important for these moments. They give young, aspiring artists something to look to; to know their art has a place somewhere. That, yes, their art does have purpose besides filling up flash drives or small studios. One of my poems was in that exhibit, and that was very impactful. I finally realized the worth of my own art to others. I realized even my art could connect people. These are the lessons Yellow House taught me. My goal as a fellow Elan staff member is to continue doing those meaningful projects, because in the future, as it did me, someone is going to attend and have a personal realization.

These projects also help develop my ability to handle huge tasks and take on new responsibilities. Coming into Elan, I knew I would be gaining a lot of meaningful experience that I could take with me into the working world. Elan has done more that I originally expected; it has showed me the power of working as a team, how to properly communicate, and how to effectively reach an audience. Elan is about reaching out and expressing the importance of art.

Elan has given me the opportunity to put passion into what I do. I am working towards a meaningful whole. As I observe more art and look at the stories of others, I learn about my own story as a person in this world. I am always picking up the pieces and building something different – something that will help me in the next chapter of my life. With those tools, I create art. I absorb new art. I look for new perspectives, and from there, new beginnings arise.

Reece Braswell, Junior Art Editor