My Turn

Opinion: It takes a village to help a student blossom

By Simön O’Brien, Taos
Posted 3/7/19

Last fall my daughter Hana O’Brien Ishikawa started high school at the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe. She is in the theater department. I recently sent a thank-you to everyone at …

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My Turn

Opinion: It takes a village to help a student blossom

Posted

Last fall my daughter Hana O’Brien Ishikawa started high school at the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe. She is in the theater department. I recently sent a thank-you to everyone at Taos Academy for their magic formula that enabled her to graduate middle school on the honor roll and, for the first time ever, with a straight A status, like the school. This, while giving her enough time to pursue all her other creative impulses. And much more – for example, intro to aviation and culinary arts. 

This led me to the realization of what a special place Taos is, so I wanted to thank everyone in this village who helped raise Hana as an artist. First, the women artists who welcomed her as a little girl into their studios, shared their processes and modeled successful, happy, women painters – among them Ginger Mongiello, Gretchen Ewert and Dinah Worman, to name just a few. Jim Wagner and Texas artist Jim Wilson came to our house and painted with her, teaching purely by showing. Then, there was Jimmy Stadler who not only got her singing her heart out at KTAO, but came over to the house to help tune her piano, which, by the way, she bought with her own savings, made from acting and selling her paintings.

Thanks also to Delta Bayer who, in 2014, also came to our house, checked out Hana’s huge body of paintings and said yes that she’d love to host a show in the gallery of Salon X. Next, the beautiful Bruce McIntosh himself for being Hana’s theater guru since she was 5 years old, and many other mentors. 

Simön O’Brien lives in Taos. 

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