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Showing support for the arts

“The purpose of art: to make the unconscious conscious.” — Richard Wagner

As an apologist for the liberal arts, I am also a strong supporter of the visual and performing arts. For Davis & Elkins College, our Creative Arts program is both valued and supported. In other words, we offer high quality programming, and a high quantity of students are drawn to our Creative Arts offerings.

Michael Doig is the primary reason for the resurgence of the creative arts at D&E. Though not an alumnus, both his parents attended D&E and his mother later worked at the College. Growing up in Elkins, Michael has fond memories of carefree childhood days playing on the campus and attending events at the College. In that funny way that life can be, Michael found himself returning to Elkins as an adult to teach at the very College that served as his childhood playground.

Sitting in my office just a few weeks ago, he told me how grateful he was to be at Davis & Elkins College as an associate professor of art and the chair of the Division of Creative Arts. How grateful I am that we had that conversation on that recent day.

Shortly after we shared that time together, Michael suffered a heart attack and then endured further serious health-related complications. Since then, he has been hospitalized and has been the focus of concern and prayers from students, faculty, staff and community members who know, respect and love him.

I am a true admirer of Michael Doig. Not long after I arrived at D&E, Michael and I found ourselves walking across campus. I shared a true story from my junior high school years when I was required to take a drawing class. Though I gave it my all, it was obvious my ability lagged well beyond my classmates. As my frustration mounted, my caring teacher assured me she knew I was trying my best. “Just keep coming to class and you will pass,” she told me. With a smile and a laugh, I told Michael this story. In his caring way, he smiled and shared his philosophy of teaching. He believes all of us have artistic talent. His job, he said, is to find a way to bring that talent to the surface. I jokingly told him he might have met his match with me. However, in my heart, if anyone could find hidden artistic talent within me, I suspect it would be Michael Doig.

The road to recovery for our dear friend is long. He has so many people, including his family, friends, students, colleagues and admirers who are praying for him and believing in him. I know there are hundreds and hundreds of future students who need Michael to bring their talent to the surface and make the unconscious conscious. I eagerly await the day when he is back in the D&E Art Studio doing just that!

The journey continues…