Rebecca Thompson spoke to a room full of art students and guests on Thursday, Feb. 5, encouraging the audience to overcome the challenges of furthering their education and career in art. Rebecca received her Masters in Fine Art at Cornell University on a full scholarship and has successfully maneuvered the public works arena, with many of her sculptures being commissioned and on permanent public display in several major cities. She conveyed her experience of growing in her Christian walk through the visual art she created and how she moved through those projects, putting her faith in God and his word into the sculptures figuratively and literally.
Thompson encouraged the students to find scholarships to graduate school. She shared her own scholarship research methods and how she was able to attain a full scholarship to Cornell University, ultimately leaving two pieces of art permanently on the Cornell campus.
While explaining the one to two year time frame of many of her works, she emphasized that the end results are not most important, but the goal is to find personal enjoyment and fulfillment.
Many of Thompson’s projects began with her volunteering, joining committees, or forming her own group. She informed students that projects in public works allows for an artist to receive compensation along the way.
Rebecca gave several examples of the process of presenting to a public works committee.
“It is hard to verbally explain your vision, leaving your listeners to envision something totally different. Learn to create your presentation to include drawings of all the angles, colors, scale, and the meaning behind your vision,” Thompson told students.
She cautioned artists to choose materials that do not harm the environment, the crew, the artist, or the future. Many of Thompson’s permanent art pieces are intended to last a lifetime and still be safe and attractive.
While sharing photos of her art in process, she explained how overcoming her fears was part of the growing process of being an artist. Many of Thompson’s challenges included learning to use power tools, learning how to cut rock at a quarry, requesting the personal trash of others for art purposes, and working with men who refuse to appreciate a female supervisor or project lead.
Thompson told of her experience pushing through the bias toward Christian works in the art world, while other world religions were accepted more openly. She had to determine what she had faith in, what she believed to be true, and forge ahead. Many of her works, both public and private, are based on scripture. Her intent is to bring written word to life because she believes art is a visual language.
Thompson closed the event by offering her support and encouragement to the students. She also invited students to contact her as furthered their artistic pursuits.