After 20 years, Rose returns for degree

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by Sandy Bond

“Never, ever criticize an individual’s interpretation of the fine arts-to draw, to dance or to sing,” Rose “Pat” Forget’ said, “particularly not of an impressionable child. The arts are so subjective-who are you to designate yourself art critic?

That fleeting, lofty moment as a self-described art critic could hold that young person’s dreams hostage or destroy that joy for them forever. Rose should know. It nearly happened to her.

After a hiatus from the art world of nearly two decades, Rose will receive her bachelor’s degree in fine arts magma cum laude in May from Northern State University at Aberdeen.

As a junior in high school, she said, her art teacher decided to try reverse psychology to motivate her to try harder.
“He or she, you know I don’t even remember their name,” she said, “but the hateful remarks, ‘you’ll never be an artist,’ remained!”

Her senior art exhibition, “Sensuality-One Woman’s Perspective,” is scheduled from April 23 through May 4, on the first floor of Krikac Hall, west of the Johnson Fine Arts Center at Northern State.

“This is a very non-provocative exhibition,” she said. “’Sensuality,’ is my interpretation of how difficult life can be for women but also how beautiful women are-it’s how a woman uses all of her senses, including intuition.”

“I’m proud to say that my thirty-inch by thirty-inch acrylic multi-colored, “Tassels,” was one of two purchased by NSU President James Smith,” she said.

Two art presentations are chosen by the president and will be displayed in the Missouri River Room of the Student Union Center.

Acrylics, and even weaving, are incorporated into her senior art exhibition. One concept piece, one of her favorites, she has unofficially named, “Grandma Rose’s Kitty Cat Song.” It’s a rocking chair draped with Baby Rose’s baby blanket.
“My grandmother rocked over 20 babies, children and then grandchildren, in a rocking chair similar to this one,” she said. “And while she rocked, she sang this strange little song about a kitty cat. To me, it epitomizes what we feel as infants-you can feel the love.”

After graduation from a high school in upper Michigan, Patricia Rose married Claude Forget’ and they raised four children, Rochelle, Desiree, Nicole and Degere. While Claude became a long-haul trucker, Pat became the primary care provider while holding down several part-time jobs.

With her youngest child leaving the home, Pat began succumbing to empty-nest syndrome. She had been so busy raising the children, she quite forgot about herself, she said. Feeling unfulfilled, she decided to return to school and resume her love affair with the arts. And because she was reminded of the phrase, “starving artist,” she also found it possible to do the seemingly impossible; completing the course requirements for certified pharmacy technician. Last summer she did her internship at Mobridge Regional Hospital and Family Pharmacy.

Along the journey that was her life for the last six years, she and Claude were estranged, divorced and have reconnected. They will remarry later this year.

“I have changed so much,” she said. “I never would have had the courage to participate in fundraising efforts for Safe Harbor by doing “Hair” as part of the “Vagina Monologues.”

She is part of a 35-member ensemble that will present segments written by Eve Ensler. Each monologue is read by a varying number of women; the “monologues” change to reflect challenges that women face throughout the world.
Rose will be returning to Java, but has already launched her own website which will feature her original artwork and jewelry.

Her journey may be a lesson learned for many of us. Maybe your grandmother was right. The next person you may meet may never dance for the Bolshoi Ballet, be another Van Gogh, or perform at Carnegie Hall. However, “if you can’t say something nice, maybe you should say nothing at all…”

– Sandy Bond -

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