A kindergartner gleefully swirls finger paint into a vibrant rainbow on paper. A 10-year-old hears sweet strands of music coming from her own instrument. A high school student finds his voice on stage. A young woman exhibits strength and grace in unison as she moves powerfully across the dance floor. Art is an outward expression of personal experience. It takes confidence for artists to share their talent, to let others see what they see and experience what they feel. Confidence that doesn't come naturally can be built. "Practice. Practice. Practice." It's the mantra of piano teachers worldwide, and practice was the foundation for portrait artist Margaret Sargent's success. Numerous studies have shown the arts increase self-confidence by providing opportunities for students to explore, create and express their identity. According to the Arts Education Partnership, www.artsedsearch.org, "Collaborative arts education experiences, both performing and visual, create an environment in which diverse perspectives can be visible and valued." From the seasoned professionals to the college students, the following KAs credit the arts for building their confidence and bringing inspiration and joy to their lives. ANA GLOCKER, ZETA EPSILON-KANSAS Ana is pursuing a degree in dance and envisions opening a community arts center. "Dance has been the centering source in my life since the age of 3. Within the walls of the studio, I process my hopes, dreams, fears, frustrations and disappointments. Dancing both solo and with groups has given me confidence to be myself and express my deepest emotions through movement. I benefited learning from dancers who were the level ahead of me, and in turn my dedication to dance often inspired younger dancers, which pushed me to work harder." CAITLIN BARNES, BETA UPSILON-SUSQUEHANNA Caitlin is majoring in theater with a specialization in dance and vocal performance. One day she hopes to provide children with special needs the same opportunities she has had to express herself through the arts. "I was never very outspoken or confident before starting my career in the performing arts, but in all of my theater, voice and dance classes my teachers have encouraged me to take risks and step out of my comfort zone. Now, not only do I have the ability to perform in front of large audiences, I have the ability to present myself well in auditions, interviews or presentations. I cannot stress how much [arts education] has built up my confidence and prepared me for my future." SAMANTHA "SAM" WOODHAM BROWN, DELTA DELTA-TROY Look again! That's not a photo of a real cat on Sam's shoulder. That's a portrait she painted of her kitty, Boo, who passed away last year at age 16-plus. Samantha is the owner of a graphic design and painting company called Five Cat Designs. Yes, there were five " fur kids" living with Sam, her husband and their children when she opened her business. Sam has prior experience as an art director and provides a variety of graphic design services, but the commissioned art portion of her company really took off in the direction of pet portraits. "I am inspired in being able to give my clients pure joy in painting their beloved pet. The true reward is seeing their expression of love and delight when they see the painting for the first time." ALI HINMAN, ZETA MU-TOWSON For as long as she can remember, Ali has wanted to make other people laugh, so she was thrilled when she won the chapter superlative "Best Sense of Humor." It may have been her jumpstart to a future career in stand-up comedy. "While it seems small and insignificant, it meant the world to me. I decided if these women believed I could be funny, then maybe other people would, too. I started writing standup jokes, and after a few months, I mustered up the courage to go [to a comedy club]. I only told a few girls in the chapter, because I was nervous I was going to bomb. When the day of the show came, I walked out on stage, blinded by the lights, and all I could see in the crowd was a table full of Kappa Deltas . . . The pride in their eyes made me feel like I was invincible. I killed my set and ran off stage to greet them . . . Since then I have done plenty more shows, and none of them has had less than three KAs in the audience. This experience has bolstered my confidence to unwavering heights, and all I can do is give back the love and support that my sisters have given me." MADISON ROWBOTHAM, BETA PSI-ARIZONA STATE Madison has been dancing since she was age 3 and despite having two knee surgeries, she is pursuing a minor in dance. "Dance is my world, my passion. Whenever I am feeling down or insecure, I turn to dance to feel OK again. I truly owe my confidence and my strength to dance." JENNIFER MORRISEY, ETA IOTA-PACE Jennifer, a Texas native, ventured to New York City where she studied theater arts at Pace University. After graduation, she moved to Orlando, Florida, for an entertainment internship at Walt Disney World. Now, back home in Texas, she is directing teen productions at a nonprofit community theater and enjoying alumnae life as a member of the Richardson/Plano Alumnae Chapter. "I am where I want to be, doing what I set out to do, because I have faith in myself and have gained confidence to be independent, daring and an inspiration to the teens I serve." VANESSA DAWN EDELEN BADNER MYERSON (VANESSA ALLEN), BETA THETAPENNSYLVANIA STATE In the 1950s, while the Chordettes were crooning Mr. Sandman on the radio, Vanessa and three of her Beta Theta sisters were entertaining Penn State students as the K-Delts, a vocal quartette. Vanessa (pictured at the piano) later moved to Los Angeles with her first husband, Mike, and they formed a " big band" that became known as the society band of Ventura County. When Mike passed away unexpectedly in 1977, Vanessa kept the band going on her own for five years. With her second husband, Charlie, a professional musician, the band played as many as 120 engagements a year until 2010. Now at age 80, Vanessa plays piano weekly for her church and occasionally for parties, while also teaching piano. "Being involved in music, both as a teacher and as a performer, definitely had an influence on my personal confidence. I was forced to develop a confident demeanor in playing and singing in our bands through the years . . . In teaching over 400 students in 55 years, I have consistently enjoyed motivating, encouraging and nurturing individual differences in my students. Building my students' confidence and love of music is always the goal." LISA PALLADINO CLAUS, BETA MU-BOWLING GREEN STATE Prior to Lisa's entry into the music industry, she worked for several years as a licensed professional counselor and social worker before spending time at home raising her two children. About seven years ago, an opportunity came along to become the personal manager for Monte Pittman, Madonna's guitarist. Soon after, she created her own company, LC Media, LLC, that books speaking engagements for music industry professionals. She is pictured here with a client, guitarist Alex Skolnick, at the Modern Heavy Metal Conference in Helsinki, Finland. "Not having a background in the music industry did not stop me from giving it a go. In fact, my psychology background has been a strength and stands out as different from the norm . . . I have always been supportive of artists and other professionals in the industry, helping to boost their confidence, provide a listening ear and another point of view. My background allows me to recognize issues that need attention and help facilitate finding resources . I try my best to remind artists of their worth and to keep on growing." MADISON "MABI" ZAVITZ, BETA MUBOWLING GBEEN STATE When the " sorting hat" of sorts settled, Madi found herself a " Slytherian" and a member of the Hogwarts Choir in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter at Universal Orlando, where she performs when on breaks from her real school, Bowling Green State University. "As K▲ song chairman, I was able to help lead Ritual, creating a doorway to my love for singing and my respect for our Ritual. At Girl Scout events, I taught the girls routines that we would perform for the parents. My favorite memory of performing in the Wizarding World was having my KA little, Lexi, at my very first performance!" Advice for Aspiring Artists From Portrait artist margaret holland sargent • Find and study with a teacher whose work you really admire. • Get the basics down first, and then you can be creative with your style. • Knock on doors and ask for your work to be seen. Don't be afraid. Go out and trust yourself. Have confidence.
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