Nine years ago, I was an incoming high school freshman who loved to draw. I can recall earlier years getting in trouble because that was all I wanted to do. Fortunately my high school art teacher, Diane Barnhart, saw this passion and told me about a program called Ryman Arts. I applied and was accepted into the program as a freshman. For the next four years of high school I was carved and molded into the artist I am today. My parents always said that if God gives you a gift, it’s your job to use it to the best of your ability, and he will open the doors for your success. Too many people have misconceptions about artists, including artists. Just like any other trade or profession we need to see the value art brings to the world and help others to see it as well. Ryman Arts was intrinsic in my understanding of the business aspect of art. The skills I learned, both artistically and practically, provided a solid foundation for my career as a fine artist. Art not only has allowed me the freedom of expression, but it has opened doors beyond my comprehension. Art even paid for me to go to China—through winning an art contest and selling my work. Today I’ve come full circle, and I am currently working as the new Special Events Intern at Ryman Arts. It’s incredible to see the 25 year legacy Ryman Arts has had in both the community and in the art world. I have faith this legacy inspired by Herbert Ryman will continue for generations to come.