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Something to Live For • by Kayte Terry

Kayte TerryWhen I was in elementary school, my brother and I took art therapy classes at our local hospital. At the time I thought my mother sent my brother and I there to keep us busy and out of her hair, but in retrospect I know that she was trying to save us. Save us from the divorce that crippled our little family and the alienation and loneliness of moving to a new town. Every week we would show up and make something: clay sculptures of our heroes (at the time, mine was Whitney Houston — don't laugh!), plaster casts of our faces that we painted as masks, and drawings of our imagined favorite places. It never felt preachy, heavy-handed, or much like therapy at all, but it made me really happy. And it made me feel like I was in control of something. I sure couldn’t change the circumstances of my life but I could decide what color I wanted to paint the sky once a week and whether I wanted to use clay or plaster the next.

Everyone is an Artist
That, to me, is how Art saves us. It takes us out of the day-to-day and gives us something sublime, something beautiful, something to live for. You don’t even have to be particularly good (whatever “good” means anyway) at art to be fulfilled by it. Despite what I learned in my Art History classes, I think pretty much everyone is an artist of some sort. I use fabric and paper scraps to make my art, whereas some people paint, play the trombone, or make incredible seven-course meals. It’s all Art to me.

When Everything Else is Falling Apart
Many years later, Art is still what I turn to when everything else is falling apart (I mean it worked back when I was 10). When my maternal grandmother passed away last year I used some of her old hankies in an art quilt and it soothed my sad soul. When I am so stressed out that I feel like I am going crazy, I turn to a repetitive project like embroidery or paper cutting to get my blood pressure back towards normal. So yeah, Art always comes through for me, in the smallest ways (when I’m having a bad day and need a break) and in the biggest ways (when everything else feels wrong). And for that I am eternally thankful that Art has always been a part of my life.

To learn more about Kayte Terry, visit

Kayte Terry

Kayte Terry

Kayte Terry

Kayte Terry

Kayte Terry

Kayte Terry

Kayte Terry

Kayte Terry

Kayte Terry


Hi Kayte. Yay to your Mom. Yay to you. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

You are a beautiful person. Art is always exciting!

kayte..I so enjoyed your story and know that feeling only too well...thank you for sharing!

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