Last night I had an art opening at the Star Deli sandwich shop and gallery in Omaha, Nebraska. It was part of Benson’s First Friday art showing. It was a joint show, The Color of Stories, with my husband, photographer Jerred Zegelis, & my son. This photo is my son hanging some of his paintings when we were setting up for the art show.
When my husband and I began our creative journey about 15 years ago, I was doing art, he was doing photography, and we did shows together as C & J Art and Photography. Over the years, we grew into a wedding and portrait studio, then scaled back so I could focus on my inspirational art. This was our first show together in over a decade.
We decided to focus our art show on colorful art that portrayed our vision of hope, growth and the importance of sharing a unique, authentic voice. Like most relationships, we’ve had our ups and down and been through a lot in the past few years, but we’ve come out stronger, healthier, and happier. And our son has been a big part of that. As someone who has always struggled to speak up for myself, becoming a mom put me in a position of ensuring someone was there to speak up for my son when he couldn’t. And when the lesson I was trying to teach him was to use his own voice and be heard, it seemed disingenuous if I wasn’t going to do the same thing for myself. His joy and happiness, his observations and courage inspire me every day. And so, having him show some of his artwork alongside ours seemed like the perfect thing to do and felt like a great culmination of our creative family.
As people came to the show last night, viewed our work, stopped by to say Hi and show their support, Jerred and I were beaming at how happy our little guy was. He leaned into me at one point and said, “People really like my art.” And I said, “I know. You’re such a great artist.” I couldn’t have been happier at that moment.
The art is what brought us there, at that moment, in Omaha, Nebraska and what has brought me here, at this point in my life. Something that has carried me when I felt unsure and lost, something that has given me courage and hope when I felt abandoned. Art has been a road to finding my own way in the world, and I love seeing that same creativity blossoming in my son. His vision of the world inspires me to grow and challenge myself every day and reminds me that art truly has the power to motivate, inspire, and push us toward the life we want to live.