As I am nearing the end of my senior year at Douglas Anderson, the excitement of my life outside of high school is directly paralleled with my equal disappointment of having to leave behind all that I deemed important to me. Elan would be one of these. Though I have only been able to be an art editor for two years, what I learned from my experience on the staff will follow me the rest of my life.
An Elan event that I know I will never forget is the Yellow House gallery we put together in 2018. I was the art manager, allowing me the responsibility of selecting, procuring, and displaying the visual art that would be accompanying the written pieces chosen by other members on the team. This process took a lot longer than I had hoped it would have, given that the artists often already had their piece displayed elsewhere, or they simply were not responsive to email. However, I will never forget the payoff of all our hard work the day of the show. Throughout the entire process, we prevailed. Every obstacle that presented itself was always immediately countered without hesitation, making the process almost seem seamless despite the constant need for plan revisions. The teamwork, dedication, and organization that was required of all the members participating in the creation of that event was unlike any I had experienced before. It was the newness of that experience though that taught me so much about how to keep situations under control in my own life through similar strategies of compromise and calmness despite all that may fall in the way of a goal.
Outside of my general personal growth, I have also become a better artist through my time on the staff. I have been exposed to so many different mediums of art, all of which are utilized as a form of essential expression. Of all the lessons I have learned in Elan, the most important is the vitality of art. I have adopted the understanding that it is the most important form of individual expression that allows universality the further you reach into yourself. The connection that can be made with other people in speaking hard truths is one that cannot be replicated by any other practice. As an art editor, I was exposed to so many stories and lives through something as simple as the analysis of art they submitted for publication. The beauty and truth of visual art has fueled my own writing’s creative process. I am inspired to speak to feelings I fear acknowledging or that I don’t know how to name in a word or two. Exposure to art pushes to me move against my own limitations. I constantly create in pursuance of my personal truth, as it is in my ability to create that I am granted freedom and solace. At this time in my life, my identity as an artist has become one of the most important pieces of my definition of self.
– Kathryn Wallis, Senior Art Editor