Ten years and an acceptance


Slightly frazzled, the poet finally sat down across from me for an interview. Shifting through papers, she started our interview in a state of distraction. Up until then, I had the preconceived notion she lived a charmed life, after all she had won a highly coveted Guggenheim award

Instead, the person I met was very human with her own difficulties that seemed to have similarities to my own inner landscape resembling the hills of Southwest England.  

As we talked, and she warmed to the conversation, I asked her about her path to poetry acclaim and her current award. Gone was the illusion of easy triumph on her part and in its place was a tenacity of determination over ego and rejection. After 10 years of applying for the grant, she called it her yearly ritual, and several rejection notices, she achieved her goal. Victory. 

And maybe her example served as subconscious inspiration when I decided to enter the biennial exhibit “From These Hills” at the William King Museum of Art because, when I read and occasionally reread my acceptance letter, I think of her.

Ten years have gone by since the exhibit first made its way into my consciousness. Ten years and three rejections, though this memory is a bit sketch—it may have been two and I might have taken a year off that only felt like rejection. This year, I made it into the show!

From These Hills: Contemporary Art in the Southern Appalachian Highlands” features 24 artists who live and work in Southern Appalachia. The juror was Rebecca Elliot, assistant curator of craft, design, and fashion at the Mint Museum in Charlotte, North Carolina. In the exhibition catalog, this is what she said about my accepted pieces from my Remains series:

The idea of transmigration resonates with Remains, L.S. King’s series of photographs taken from a moving car traveling around the Southeast between hospitals, veterinarians, assisted living centers, and hospices, saying goodbye to loved ones. In Fayetteville and Peak Creek, grainy, dark images are printed over soft pastel tones, evoking the ephemerality of memories and time.

The other artists I am amongst are an inspired crew. Two standouts for me are Charlie Brouwer and Halide Salam. Charlie is a sculptor, whose ladder-based work creates an interesting juxtaposition of iconic personal memory and transcendence for me (but that’s another story for a different day). And Halide is a colorist, whose imagery smooths away some hard edges of day-to-day life. Both are Radford University connections. Charlie retired the year we moved to Virginia, but Halide is on the current faculty.

“From These Hills” runs from October 3, 2019 to February 9, 2020.

The museum invites all to attend the After Hours Hootenanny on October 3, 2019, from 6 to 8 p.m.