Between the Lines

*Describe a setting in which you have collaborated or interacted with people whose experiences and/or beliefs differ from yours. Address your initial feelings and how those feelings were or were not changed by this experience.


Naked forms were everywhere. On the walls, on the floor, on the desks. Smudged with charcoal and twisted in fantastic poses, the products of our human figure drawing class papered the walls and blanked the room, evidence of the past five days’ work.

I had come to this art school in Savannah, Georgia over the summer to develop a skill, a hobby that I enjoyed. Walking into the downtown studio revealed a scene as diverse and colorful as the city itself, filled with tightly packed easels in various stages of disarray. It was in the midst of this that our instructor, a woman clad in Birkenstocks and a flowing maxi dress, rose and made an announcement. Now, she said, we are going to try something new. She explains that we will set down our black charcoal and pick up a colored pastel with which we rotate among each others’ work, take ten seconds to add what we desire, and move on.

I inwardly groan. This piece has already taken nearly two hours. My sweeping lines are meticulously planned, my details sketched according to the vision in my mind. The last thing I want is someone in this room to mess up the beauty of my masterpiece. I grudgingly grab the first color I see, a deep blue, and begin the exercise, taking fleeting glances at my...

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