Field Trip for Sumner Academy Artists


On Friday Mary Ann Sit and I took a group of young artists from Sumner Academy to Lawrence.  Sumner’s in KC, KS.  Mary Ann is their teacher.  Why did we do this?  I wanted the kids to visit the studios of some incredible artists, namely Stan Herd and Stephen Johnson, feeling they would take inspiration from their stories of sacrifice, hardship, and victory.  They did.  I also knew that both artists would reach out to these talented rascals, and let them know that all their goals are within reach, given the usual hard work, dedication, etc.


Later, we had lunch at the Art Dept of the University of Kansas, thanks to the generosity of their director, Greg Thomas.  Then the kids spent the afternoon touring the Art & Design Building, going through all the departments, talking with grad students, getting a feel for where they could be in a year.  Can these students, most of whom are from working-class families, afford college outright?  No, but most of them qualify for grants and scholarships, which the KU staff went to pains to make clear.


Upshot?  With a little effort, these promising young punks will all be at KU, or some other college, within a year.  I could see they got that by day’s end, where before it may have seemed an impossibility.  If you’ll look at their smiles in the final photo, you’ll likely see same.  Good.  Opportunity is meant to be shared.


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