Kelso (#598) 05-19-14

Tuesday is Farmer's Market day in Gulfport, FL. But like so many Farmer's Markets, it is more about arts & crafts, and a public meeting place. And so it was this day.

We turned into a small, permanent establishment, ProjectFree Gallery and Studio. It allows local artists a chance to display. The Facebook page is HERE.  Plus, there is an active pottery and glass blowing studio in the back of the building. As we perused some small charms and jewelry with a squirrel motif, a middle aged lady said, “Kelso makes all of that art.” A young Kelso appeared and theatrically showed her squirrel art. All of the squirrels had whimsical expressions.

Kelso received a B.A. In art from Ohio State University, and a masters degree from Arizona State. She is extremely outgoing. She took us (almost by the hand) to the studio in the rear of the building, where she teaches glass blowing. Kelso showed us a few individual pieces, explaining the various stages of completion. Having no knowledge of glass blowing, I could not appreciate all of the nuances.

But I could appreciate this; her students are children with Downs Syndrome. I can't imagine the patience and creativity that this must require. Kelso explained how she has to carefully suggest steps to her students along the production path of each piece, so that they can succeed while feeling personal fulfillment. Wow. This summer, she is traveling to Africa to teach art to children with African Blindness. Kelso thinks that the blindness is traumatic, but I suspect that it is infectious, either Trachoma or Onchoceriasis. But that doesn't matter – again, imagine the patience that this would require.

I got the photos as we were leaving. This had Kelso in the doorway with a dark background and looking out into the bright street. I showed her my Flickr Photostream on the cell phone. She LOVED it and went into a bunch of theatrical gestures, ending with a big hug. I consider the images a failure. I photographed Kelso the Thespian, the whimsical Kelso and the flirtatious Kelso. But I did not capture the eyes of the Kelso who teaches art to children with severe developmental and physical challenges. The Posted image comes closest. But not close enough.