My alma mater – Bethel College – didn’t know what to do with me when I arrived; I was a non-traditional commuter student and didn’t have a Mennonite heritage. A name like McNary didn’t fit their roster of Claassen, Busenitz, Thiessen, Unruh, Friesen, and Juhnke. However, they graciously made room for me and I hammered out my degree while raising 3 young sons.
Like most freshmen, I signed up for the easy classes first like Art Appreciation. I walked into my first college art class with nerves jangling like ten-year-old who just downed three shots of espresso and half-a-dozen Krispy Kreme donuts. Little did I suspect that my first college class would reshape the way I saw the world. Forever.
Bob Regier was the Art Professor. Bob is a gentle man with a kind voice and accommodating speech. He turned the lights off and we heard the hum of the slide projector and the click-shush-click as each image advanced. Bob captured the images with his camera, images of things I had seen before. However, he gave me a new way of looking at them. One image I still recall was the typical sunset on a Kansas wheat field, but taken from an angle I had never seen. Bob showed us a new way to see the world.
Later, I realized that that class was almost a religious experience for me. Since then, I see the world with different eyes. I saw art for a while when I was a child, but lost my eye-sight after one-too-many rebukes for coloring outside the lines. I ended up taking many art classes in college; I settled on photography as my favorite expression.
Bob taught me the difference between enjoying beauty and power of contemplating beauty in a 45 minute class. Since then, when the stuff of life gets overwhelming, I park myself in front of a sunset, find a bench in the local art museum, discover a new vista in the Flint Hills of Kansas, and let the hidden language of beauty whisper in my soul. Beauty heals; beauty inspires; beauty calms; beauty informs. One of my favorite books is The Evidential Power of Beauty: Science and Theology Meet.
Bob will have a showing of his art beginning with a reception this coming Saturday, Dec. 6 at the Carriage Factory Gallery in Newton, Kansas.
I look forward to seeing his new exhibit and shaking hands with the man who restored my sight.
Who has helped you see the world with a new set of eyes?
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The image of Bob belongs to Carriage Factory Gallery.