Dianna returned to South Carolina after retirement to be closer to her children and grandchildren. As she settled in, she wanted to plug back into the arts, since she had previously enjoyed taking oil lessons while living abroad. “I needed an outlet,” she said. Dianna joined a monthly arts group that hosted workshops, but she was looking for something more consistent, something deeper.
While downtown for a festival in Newberry, Dianna saw information about classes posted on the Newberry Arts Center’s door. She signed up for a watercolor class and immediately felt a connection with her instructor, Anne Hightower Patterson White. She didn’t realize what a special bond they shared until later. During an arts retreat in North Carolina with Anne and fellow students, Dianna found out that when her son had developed insulin dependent diabetes years prior, the endocrinologist who helped Dianna through that challenging time was her instructor’s aunt. The aunt (also the endocrinologist) gave Dianna confidence at that period in her life, and her instructor has since helped her grow as an artist. Dianna said about Anne, “She means so much to me.”
Dianna’s artwork has enabled her to make connections near and far. When she wins awards at art shows, she sends an email with a picture to family members living in Texas and Louisiana. She used her talents to paint a picture for a cousin with intellectual disabilities to hang in his room, and she has shared her gifts through a painting demonstration at her church.
Dianna has been taking classes at NAC for six or seven years now. “The Arts Center is there all the time, a place I can go and spend hours,” she said. “It’s my happy place.”
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