I Woke Up Like This: 21 Things I Took Away From Missouri Fine Arts Academy

This past month I was fortunate enough to attend the Missouri Fine Arts Academy (MFAA), a graciously state-funded inter-disciplinary arts academy on the campus of Missouri State University. The experience was unlike anything I had ever imagined myself having, and I am grateful for every minute of it. The community created at the academy spurred such a profound emotional response from students and faculty alike that to say I learned a lot about myself as an artist is an understatement. I learned about myself as a human being. I learned about art in society, about the changes that are occurring in our country right now and how they are affecting my generation, about collaboration, that there are people like me out there struggling in their situations the same way I am in mine, and a million other things that I don’t even know if I could put into words. In order to give you an idea of what I have been a part of the past three weeks, I have tried to pair the learning, laughter, and tears down to one for each day of the life-changing experience that is MFAA.


  1. 99 is not 100.
  2. You learn by doing.
  3. Entertainment gives you what you are expecting; art leaves you to connect the dots yourself.
  4. Snapping is a great way to recognize how profound something is without interrupting…unless it’s during Father’s homily.
  5. Education is an angelic troublemaker.
  6. You do not always wake up flawless, but it is always the proper response to “I woke up like this.”
  7. To collaborate is to create something bigger than yourself.
  8. Cereal gets the right of way. (in the dining hall)
  10. If something is deemed “unspeakable”, it is almost a sure sign that it must be discussed.
  11. If you have a fall back plan you’ll fall back on it.
  12. To fight for others to be accepting of you, you must first be accepting of them.
  13. Sometimes the words that best describe things are not words.
  14. The point of some art is to create a strong response.
  15. “Leaving Jesus out of it” ensures that you will find more of Him in it.
  16. We feel in tempos.
  17. Sometimes the best actors are not those of the theater discipline.
  18. Dr. Pepper and Muddy Buddies can fix almost anything.
  19. When a man says he hears angels singing, he hears angels singing. ~Mary Oliver
  20. Sometimes the best way to be creative is to think inside the box with your out of the box ideas.
  21. You don’t need wings to fly.