Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Doors Close and Doors Open

Welcome the closing of an old door, for it is then that a new door shall open.  Scottie Somers. 

I had the most amazing weekend.  It was the 40th anniversary of the High School of Performing Arts, class of 1975.  Though I graduated in '76, so many of the '75 class were close friends.  So I went to the reunion.

Ned Eisenberg and me in front of our former school.
If you've never heard of Performing Arts, or "P.A." as we called it, it is the magical place beautifully memorialized in the original "Fame" movie.  In fact, the character of Doris was an amalgam of various students in the school, one of which was me!  Like Doris, I sang at my audition even though the school did not have a singing department at the time.  (Unlike Doris, my mother was not present!)

Like Doris, I was a sheltered girl whose life and perspective were cracked open by this amazing place.  I had grown up relatively sheltered and affluent in a brownstone in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  At P.A., I made friends with people from every single background and neighborhood that NYC had to offer.  My best friends were a girl from a railroad apartment in Astoria, Queens, and a boy from East Harlem.  

  with Daryl Edwards, my brother from another mother.
My girl-friend's fire escape looked out over Ditmars Boulevard, where her friends hung out at at night at the Carvel across the street, and where there was a Woolworth Store - which was more exciting for me than a candy store!  Starting in my junior year (and continuing part way through college), I dated someone from the South Bronx, whose mother was a former Black Panther member and wouldn't let me in their apartment.  No matter - we were all united by our art.

P.A. has lots of famous graduates, including Ben Vereen and Priscilla Lopez, who were both there.

You can see my friends Daryl Edwards in Daredevil, among many other movies and commercials, and Ned Eisenberg on Law & Order, NCIS and on Broadway.  Scarlett De Bease is a successful image stylist; following stints on Broadway and film, Denise Woods is a vocal coach to the stars; Kenya Cagle is a film producer, and more.  The best thing about this get together was seeing the love that has lasted all these years.   Whether continuing in the performing arts or not, everyone is leading interesting lives, still full of creativity and sparkle.  I am 100% certain these people and my experience at this school completely changed my life.

I came home full of inspiration and energy, and completed an art journal page.  Here's how it started and the stages it went through.

Until it ended up like this.

Welcome the closing of an old door, for it is then that a new door shall open.  Scottie Somers.

Thank you Performing Arts and all of the wonderful people who crossed my path.  You opened more doors for me than you will ever know.

(Supplies used include Golden Fluid Acrylic Paints, and the Doors and Windows & Ganesh Stencils from Stencil Girl Products. )"

What experiences transformed your life?  

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  1. How lovely, Jessica, to read about your 'other' life and the transforming experience. No wonder you're such a brilliant artist!

  2. Just popped over from Facebook to see this gorgeous page up close. Love that she's holding your door, and I am so glad you had such a lovely reunion!

  3. what a gorgeous and poignant piece of art depicting your very fond and life enhancing memories!! What an incredible experience to have lived, and obviously you were where you WERE supposed to be , and now you are where you ARE meant to be :)

  4. What a wonderful experience Jessica and thank you so much for sharing with us!!
    Your page is beautiful and will always be such a sweet reminder of how it came to be! xo

  5. Wonderful memory making and opening time. I thought Ned Eisenberg looked familiar....Fun to see everyone and relive those times. xox

  6. Looks like such a fun time! Love the journal page!

  7. What a wonderful experience...both 40 years ago and the reunion! I loved watching Fame when I was a kid, and dreamed of going to school in such a diverse and creative environment. Alas, my education ended up looking nothing like that!

  8. What a wonderful reunion! It is always a treasure to keep the friends from long ago!
    And the painting is beautiful!

  9. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful experience with us Jessica. Your excitement at re-meeting your friends is obvious.

  10. I knew right away there was so much heart in this gorgeous piece!! I can see it as a street flag...I love it so much! Then I read your post and it all makes sense! I LOVED Fame the movies...both of them and the tv show I never missed an episode!! I even have the music book with all the songs from Fame... This was an amazing place, so glad you were able to celebrate the reunion..oh what fun!! They started a choral group in our high school because of me...I asked why there wasn't one!! The teacher sang the the anthem for our NHL hockey team for years. Those are some of my best memories. I loved hearing about your experience...and who doesn't love Ben Vereen...Thank you for sharing this wonderful part of your life! I bet there are many artists who also have musical backgrounds!

    Great photos too!!

    Hugs Giggles


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