[With students, I mean each and everyone of you that has touched my life.]
As of November 15, 2013, I am turning a page and have said goodbye to my role as a “youth coordinator.” I am now fully embracing my role as an artist. Being an artist means being a creator, a facilitator, a risk-taker. It means more time for me. It means saying yes to more and saying no to more. It means celebrating each relationship I have built, understanding I can now take a deep breath and say I did the best I could as I coordinated and filed and advocated. It means that I can let go.
I have learned SO MUCH from each and everyone of you:
From drawing with my 16 week old daughter in 1985, to volunteering in my son’s special needs preschool, to teaching art at my kids’ elementary schools and high schools, to teaching drawing to men who have spent 20+ years in prison, to sharing the creative process with youth in custody centres, to teaching adults one on one and in groups, to working in alternative schools in North Vancouver with 12-21 year olds to working on the Downtown Eastside with 18-30 year olds, to maintaining files, and fretting over funding and budget cuts, to advocating at staff meetings, and answering calls at 3 AM, from sharing drawing techniques and journaling, to sock monkeys and mindmapping, to listening and laughing, to drinking coffee and eating dinner, to art trips and text messages, to being honest, open, free.
Though there may have been times you had to say “Kat, Kat, Kat…” ten times over and still not gotten the time you needed, know I have been as present as I could have been in those moments of ART MAYHEM! I have learned not to fret that I cannot spend more time with those of you that have needed my ear, my support, my advice, my time- and to worry that I have not had time to give it.
Those of you that know me have [hopefully] seen that I take each and every relationship seriously. That I truly welcome each student into my heart. It’s a crowded heart, indeed. Each and everyone of you has taught me so much. If I have spent 1 hour with you or years, you each have taught me more than any classroom. I am so rich as a result. I thank each and everyone of you for your transparency and brilliance and for supporting me as well with your love. I especially thank all the youth I have worked with. YOU ARE ALL INCREDIBLY IMPORTANT TO ME.
So now my new role is ARTIST. I have learned that it’s time to nurture me and to sit back and watch you all grow into beautiful human beings with incredible futures. I will continue to provide art workshops here and there. And to provide support on youth projects in progress. And of course run sock monkey sessions and continue to meet up here and there for coffee and catchups and to embrace some of my previous students now as colleagues as they grow into their careers. I am so very honored to have worked with you all.
Now I want you all to know you are my teachers. I want you all to know you are all perfect. Splendidly imperfect perfect human beings. To know that you can take your time. I’m 51.5 and I feel I have finally graduated! Who knows what lies ahead but I’m READY FOR IT ALL!
So really, take your time. Be a fuck up, be a go-getter, be YOURSELF. My darlings, go and be ARTISTS! I’m right there with you. Each stitch I make, each china marker stroke is a celebration of you.
And remember our rule- no censorship. Push the envelope. Take on the world. And just laugh.
Love you tons. If you have ever been my student in any capacity, this letter is written for you.