Colorado State University Comissioned
Roxanne Swentzell coming to our class to speak made me feel emotionally moved, inspired, and so, so artistically charged. I did not know what to expect, I just knew I wanted to be there for it. Her presence and way with words was very much more than I had hoped for. For a native woman who had struggled with speaking from a young age, she was so vibrant and articulated in her own way. I resonated with the way she told stories, spoke about her passions, and expressed her love for the earth. I have a class from 1-4:50 on Monday and Wednesdays so I was very disappointed to find out that I would be missing her sculpture dedication to the agriculture building. After seeing her in class though, I knew I had to make a point to be there for it. I explained to my teacher that there was an on-campus event taking place that I was passionate about being a part of and he completely understood and excused me.
Today was the first time in 3 years at CSU that a speaker had given me “hot eyes”. I teared up several times today, felt touched by another human’s energy and compassion, and genuinely was connected to what she had to teach. I think another major influencing factor to my overall delight was that I witnessed her husband crying during her lecture in our class, as well as at the ceremony. I was so captivated by the native songs performed on the drum at the dedication, as well as how she reacted when she received gifts. She is just pouring out love and acceptance in her every move. I admired the way she wrote a poetic speech for her artist talk at the agriculture building and seemed to have no fear in speaking in front of a crowd. As an artist it can feel very difficult to express myself in words or actions as I prefer to do so in the comfort of my own family and friends, and through art. Roxanne is a very well-rounded, beautiful being. I want to give her hugs and kisses from my heart.
I think it was very fitting for her sculpture Good Earth to be a part of the agriculture building’s lawn as she spoke about the love she put into the inspiration for the piece. She hopes the same love will cultivate the growth and betterment of those who see it to treat the earth tenderly for future generations to come. Roxanne’s big heart and passion for positivity spread contagiously through our campus. One of my favorite things she mentioned today was how we are not “one things.” We are not meant to be narrowed down to one category of expertise because we are all so diverse and capable of so much.
Roxanne Swentzell not only brightened my day, but she also brightened my experience at school, gave me hope for better days as an artist, and inspired me to share more of my artwork. I want to dare to push down my walls and express myself more freely, but also remain true to myself always and stay grounded- “like a tree.” Thank you for the opportunity to be influenced in person by someone so talented, loving, and motivational.