Shirley Lewis Hall

Have you ever wondered how you got to where you are today? I was pondering this question of the high school art years after my last high school class reunion.

I was enrolled in the six week Kansas University Summer Art Program for high school students my year before a junior at the age of 16. This was open to any student in the US with the recommendation from their art teacher. It was the first time I had ever been away from home without a break. At first I was very homesick, but as the weeks wore on, I became more independent. I had selected sculpture as one of my studies. We were given red clay and simple instructions how to construct a head. I had no idea how to do this, but worked on it almost daily even though the class only met three times a week. Our schedule of classes was identical to regular college, but only with art classes. I truly enjoyed the experience and was hungry for more. I was never able to fire the piece as there was a large metal armature in the neck to brace the huge head. I took it with me everywhere I lived, to remind me to stay alive with my art. At last we moved again, and I couldn’t take it with me this time. I had spray painted the head with a godawful gold spray paint, as it bled red color on everything it touched. There it was, left in an open box on the curb. I imagined that someone would find and keep it too, loving it as much as I did. I did take photos of it to remember the time and effort it took me to do it. My first sculpture. Maybe Michelangelo would have been proud of me.

Head 1

Head 2Head 3

Head 4

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