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Show the world

Posted on Tue Mar 12th, 2024 @ 20:32 by Rebecca McMillen & Claire Cavendish

Chapter: Winter's Crest Festival
Location: Art class, Avalon Institute
Timeline: Wednesday, 16th of September, 1992
1760 words - 3.5 OF Standard Post Measure

Claire softly knocked on the doorframe before taking a tentative step inside. "Miss McMillen. The filmcrew is here and would like to set up for a couple of shots." The head teacher was trying to guide the BBC Scotland crew as best she could, knowing that if she limited the amount of footage they got she could somewhat guide the narrative they were trying to build. The good thing was that this was private property and the whole news item was being done on their terms, and could only be able to broadcast with their explicit permission.

The art class was a good place to get some moving images to put under their voice over, it showed how the students at Avalon were regular folks, able to create beautiful things, pushed to express and explore themselves.

Rebecca had spent the better part of an hour that morning just figuring out what to wear. What clashed with what, what looked nice, what looked TOO nice, what showed off too much, what didn't show off anything... it was a nightmare. If Claire had given her a WEEK, it wouldn't have helped. It also really didn't help that most of the more sparkly things she wore were all borrowed. In the end, she opted to go with a nice orange outfit, to keep to the theme of the season's colors. Reds, oranges, yellows. She was there in the classroom / studio waiting when Claire arrived, having taken the time to set up a few pieces to showcase the various degrees of skill her students had. While they might not all have been masterpieces, they all came from the heart. Showcasing the very thing that Claire was looking to show: Her students were people, and people came in every level of capability.

"Yes yes, please, come in." she offered to Claire, and by extension the crew. She was worried that her broadcast would bring her location to the attention of her folks, but what were the odds they would even see this?

Claire stepped aside allowing the reporter, soundguy, producer and camera man to pass her by and into the room. They quickly went about their business to set up the camera and figuring out their shots. The head teacher looked over at the art teacher and smiled. "Nice jacket," She had seen the mousey teacher tugging and fiddling with it a bit as they entered and hoped an encouraging compliment would ease some of the nerves. "Don't worry too much, I think it's just atmosphere shots."

"Actually." The producer interrupted that thought, "I thought it would be nice to have Miss, McMillen was it? To have her wield a brush, as it were, show us some of the talent that's associated with this school. Would that be alright with you?" He clearly focused on Rebecca, knowing that Head Mistress Cavendish had set some fairly strict filming parameters. Hoping his cheekiness would be rewarded somewhat by someone not as well versed with media as the woman clearly was.

Claire's confidence in Rebecca was infectious, and soon the blonde was more at ease. Though still caught off guard by the reporter's question, "Oh, umm, yes. McMillen." she offered, hoping to keep her first name out of the press. How many McMillens could there be, after all. "And sure, I mean, the art and the artists are the stars here. Showcasing their work would be fine." she said with a nod, "But no live brushwork I'm afraid..." she kept the reference alive. "I'm no Bob Ross."

"Oh that's alright, we can just get some mood shots, put a bit of paint on the brush, hit the canvas here and there. Doesn't have to be a Vermeer." The producer tried to coax a bit more out of it.

"I believe Miss McMillen has clearly stated her wishes, and I do believe we agreed to respect Avalon residents' wishes in regards to what does and does not get put on tape." Claire intervened before Rebecca felt pressure to acquiesce. She looked over at the cameraman and saw him give a nod to indicate he was ready for it. "Alright then, glad we could clear that up." She smiled, she was taught exactly what kind of smile to give in this situation. One that made clear she was very much in control of this whole ordeal.

Rebecca was doubly grateful for Claire's presence as she started, "As you can see, there's an amazing amount of talent and creativity here. Each of these pieces was done by a student, and it not only demonstrates the range of artistic capacity among the pieces here but it also displays the creativity. The focus on this batch was simply to depict the castle and grounds." she provided the basis before moving piece to piece. "And the students captured that with wonder. From imaginative pieces of pure color to the beginnings of impressionist and some captivating landscape art." she was really proud of her students, and it came out in her voice. The issue is was that when Rebecca was really feeling the moment, it showed in the one thing she had little actual control over: Her tail.

"The important part is that this was a project to showcase what they learned, and to really let their imagination and creativity flow. 'What is Avalon', in a sense."

The cameraman circled around a bit to take the canvas into view, but it was clear he also took an angle to make sure all of Rebecca's extremities were included in the shot. The interviewer made sure to follow the art teacher in such a way as to not mess with that goal of the cameraman. "and what is Avalon to you, Miss McMillen?"

"A chance." she responded after a moment to think. "A chance that some might not have anywhere else. A chance to learn, to dream, to imagine in a space that can accept everyone." she went on, now turning to face the interviewer, "Some people might think it's irony that Avalon is a castle. Strong stone walls and a foundation that's withstood the test of time. A perfect place to keep people safe. Me? I worry. Why does it take a castle for a child to be safe?" she knew no one had the answer, so she returned to showing off the pieces she had on display.

"Have you ever felt unsafe in the world beyond these castle walls?" The journalist seemed to latch onto her train of thought quite easily. The camera kept panning around to capture the paintings, the tail, the brushes. It was clear that the imagery was just as important as the answers to the journalist's questions.

"I'm sure we've all felt unsafe at one point or another. It's something we all have in common." Rebecca responded. "And even once, is one time too many." she paused to gather her thoughts, "I feel safest here, a lot of people do. It shows in their creativity and their comfort."

"What did you do in those times when you felt unsafe? Did you ever lash out?" The journalist wasn't ready to let that particular thread go.

Claire cleared her throat. Only one step removed from stepping in and completely stopping the interview there. There had been agreements on the subjects covered and while she realised a good journalist would try and find the boundaries of that agreement, she wasn't about to let them get away with that.

"Sorry, never mind that. We'll cut it out." The journalist quickly pivoted, "You will be holding an auction of these works at the end of the week, what are you hoping to achieve with auctioning off these works of arts the students have made?"

Lash out? Rebecca shook her head at that while Claire played defender. How exactly would she lash out? Eat all their cheese? Send a horde of rats into their ho.... oh. That.

The new question brought her back to the here and now. "Honestly, the same thing any major art auction has to hope for. Recognition." she started, turning to face the interviewer again. "Mind you, it's a small start, but whoever picks up, say...." she motioned to one of the pieces, "... this one, whenever they have company over and someone says 'oh, that's a nice piece, who did it?' I want them to smile and say 'One of the kids at Avalon'."

"Who knows, over time they may get invited to bigger and bigger events. Let them be known for something other than being different." she offered.

"And the word of mouth advertising about your institute also goes a long way of course." The man with the microphone seemingly couldn't help himself with that remark. "Have you ever come across a student whose mutation was a particular asset to crafting art?"

Rebecca gave the question a moment's thought, "You'd be surprised how often 'Painting a Picture' is the great equalizer. I can't name names, of course, but there are a few. There's a student who has a wider range of color vision than normal, so they can see colors we can't. It really helps pick exactly the right color for the moment, but it also just means that the only person who can really appreciate their art fully is themselves." she offered.

"There's someone who can move objects with their mind. Which honestly just helps them get paint from across the room or wash out a brush." she offered with a smile. "I don't have anyone that can conjure a Rembrandt from the ether. Sorry." She joked with a giggle.

"Now that would be a neat trick indeed. What you're saying it's just normal kids, regardless of how they hold the brush. Who knows maybe I'll put in a bid or two during the auction." The journalist turned to the camera and gave a nod which was the signal for everyone to wrap up this particular recording and gathering their stuff to move on to the next room.

Claire stepped closer to the art teacher, "You've done really well. Thank you miss McMillen." She rested her hand on her shoulder and gave an encouraging squeeze. "Our Shakespearean troupe is up next."

In that moment, Rebecca smiled wide. It had been a long time since she had honestly received such support. Encouragement. Belonging. It's what this place, this castle, Avalon... that's what it meant. "Any time." she responded softly. Maybe a breath too late to be heard by the reporters, or anyone listening, but that's alright. It was meant for Claire.


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