Remembering Richard Carlyon

There are only one-and-a-half weeks left to catch Richard Carlyon: A Retrospective here at the Anderson Gallery. It’s been pretty mind blowing talking to people who knew, and were inspired by, Mr. Carlyon. So, I thought today that I would share my story:

I was maybe 19 or 20, a very shy intern from the Art History department, working at an Anderson Gallery function. Everybody was there: most of the deans from the School of the Arts, my professors, people I recognized as the people-to-know. It was pretty intimidating. So, I stood by the door, trying to blend in with the walls.

No one really saw me standing there, but as I looked around, I happened to see an older gentleman in black with a shock of white hair. As soon as he saw me look up, he walked straight over to me and said: who are you? I don’t know you, but I should. Tell me who you are.

All of a sudden, I am in conversation with this stranger. He was talking to me like I had something very important to say. Me! It was very empowering and affectedly me greatly. I never forgot that encounter. It wasn’t until much later that someone mentioned that they had seen me talking to Richard Carlyon that evening.

I was never able to take his classes or even hear him speak to an audience. I never heard a lecture, just people recounting the things he said and did. I try to imagine what his classes were like. And now that I teach, it makes it all the more clear to me that every student needs to feel like he or she has something important to say. And that having a teacher that instills that feeling can make a huge difference.

I hope that you can stop by and see the show, and if you have a story to tell, you can always e-mail us: artgallery@vcu.edu.

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