Marilyn Quint-Rose, my mentor and dear friend in her studio
Art Without Compromise by Wendy Richmond
Chapter 3: "Life Support"
section 2: "Murial Cooper"
One of the things I love about artists is our ability to open up and reveal to the world who we are. In a sense, it's like being loveable puppy who rolls on its back exposing its tender underbelly expecting a good rub. However, we don't always get a satisfying rub; sometimes we get a painful jab. It's evident from our wonderful discussion yesterday, that many of us have scars on our tender underbellies and feel a little more protective of them than we used to. Experience is a tough teacher. But, adversity can make us wiser and more determined to succeed. And so, Wendy Richmond dedicates the third chapter of her book to equipping us with the mental tools necessary for our long-term commitment to making art.
Section 2 is titled after Ms. Richmond's mentor, Murial Cooper, who was also the media director of MIT Press and co-founder and director of the Visible Language Workshop at MIT. The author writes a moving tribute to her former mentor who is now deceased, and ponders the importance of not only having a mentor, but being a mentor to someone else.
A good mentor has many necessary attributes. Here, Ms. Cooper serves as a paradigm for effective mentoring. My summary of her characteristics, below, isn't listed in Wendy's book; rather, it's my interpretation of her description of the characteristics possessed by her mentor. Those of you who are reading along, please add whatever I'm missed:
- First, it's evident from the author's tribute that her mentor was an accomplished woman who possessed advanced skills and vast experience. Her thoughts and opinions deserved consideration and respect.
- Second, it's also evident that Ms. Cooper carefully listened to others and gave due consideration to their ideas.
- Third, this mentor encouraged collaboration among her students and peers. She saw the importance of working cooperatively toward a goal that's bigger than any single person and in a way that fosters good will among the team members.
- Fourth, Ms. Cooper was generous with her materials, time, and encouragement.
- Fifth, she gave informed guidance but also allowed the freedom of experimentation and exploration.
- Sixth, it appears that she never demeaned or degraded anyone, nor did she inflict guilt or punishment.
- Seventh, Ms. Cooper was forward-looking.
I'll save my personal comments about mentors in my life for our discussion when you post your own comments. Please tell us about your mentor (s) and the characteristics that made her/him effective.