Liz Schondelmayer is a graduate student of MSU’s master’s program in strategic communication as well as a full-time communications coordinator for the MSU College of Social Sciences. Schondelmayer was part of the MSU Honors College and Social Science Scholars program. She earned him undergraduate degrees in Political Science and Media and Information from MSU in 2019.
The definition of the word “artist”, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, is “a person who creates art (such as painting, sculpture, music or writing) using conscious skills and a creative imagination” . Based on this definition, I was an artist even before I could spell my own name.
Much to the dismay of my parents and teachers, I spent my entire K-12 career jotting down on every math test, spelling quiz, and notebook I came in contact with. Even to this day, all of my notes from my lectures and business meetings are covered with sketches of flowers, skulls, and any other distracted design that my hand scribbles while my brain is attentive.
Although art and self-expression have always been deeply, deeply important to me, I have never been right to call myself an “artist”. It wasn’t something I did competitively or professionally, and I never felt good enough to be a real artist. a amateur artist? Sure. But one real artist? Certainly not.
However, my attitude in this regard has changed dramatically over the past 18 months. For me personally, this past year and a half has been defined as a time of great learning and unlearning: as I gained a better understanding of the racism and classism exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and did doing my best to unlearn the prejudices of the past, I was also discovering the strength and resilience of which I myself am capable.
During this time, I was working closely with my fellow communicators #MSUSSocialScience and our Associate Dean of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr Nwando Achebe, to launch a new college-wide DCI feature. in July 2020. Since then, every month I have worked to tell the stories of students, alumni, staff and faculty who have overcome incredible obstacles and strive to make the world a better place. safe and more welcoming to everyone.
Their passion for their activism prompted me to take action. To do Something. To say Something – everything to help fight the injustices that too many of us have accepted as normal.
Plus, as I learned to become a better ally for different marginalized communities, I also learned that – when the going is good – I am capable of more than I ever imagined. The COVID-19 crisis has revealed to me that, for much of my life, I have largely underestimated myself. I had been struggling with impostor syndrome since setting foot on the MSU campus, and I had a lot of self-doubts, even as a graduate student and full-time employee.
However, the twists and turns of the emotional roller coaster that COVID-19 has been proved to me that life is too short – and unpredictable – to waste time doubting and holding back … especially when the need for advocacy and advocacy is needed. alliance is so important. high.
For this reason, I decided to use my artistic talents to participate in ArtPrize with a piece challenging the regressive assumptions and dangerous stereotypes many Americans hold about people of color. This prestigious community arts event has been held in the city of Grand Rapids since 2009 and features works by some of the most famous artists from around the world.
And I did.
Not only is my article on display in the beautiful Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation building, it was also highlighted by a local Grand Rapids news site. As expected, the article garnered praise, constructive criticism, not-so-constructive criticism, and overall it served what I was hoping for: it started a conversation.
To be able to call me an ArtPrize artist is an incredibly huge accomplishment and on a personal level it is a major victory and a testament to all that we are capable of when we trust ourselves and our talents. And when that self-confidence is married to a passion for a greater good, then we are able to accomplish some really amazing things.