This lovely book cover instantly caught my attention the other day. From first glance, I could tell a lot of care and passion was behind it, which, as it turns out, exactly mirrored the tale told inside. The Bee and the Acorn is a powerful, inspiring memoir of Paula Wallace, the founder of SCAD, Savannah College of Art and Design.
After Paula received her Masters Degree in Education in Atlanta in the 70's and taught in the public school system for 8 years, she decided that she wanted to start her own college. But, as she had been heavily influenced by music and the arts over the years, this college would be just for artists. Paula, "I was 29 years old. Maybe it was fool-hearted to think that because I was successful at teaching, I could run an entire college, but I just thought I could do it. And no one told me I couldn't."
What an impressive undertaking. And it was one Paula took on day by day with the help of her husband, family and friends. There was a lot to learn about starting a college, including creating schedules, curriculums, hiring teachers, finding suitable buildings and even starting a library. A lover of historical preservation, Paula found a huge abandoned structure that was once the Savannah Volunteer Guards Armory to serve as home base for her college. Paula, "I invited friends, colleagues and fellow educators to serve on a board of trustees to be the governing body of the university. We had artists, doctors, lawyers and community leaders; a good representation of society. To develop the curriculum, which I wrote myself, I consulted artists (in a variety of fields) on what they thought should be in the coursework..."
To think that Paula, at the age of 29, decided to start a college without a how-to manual or excess funds, is extraordinary. From 71 students enrolling that first year in 1979 to well over 45,000 students and alumni studying and working in four SCAD locations on three continents today, Paula's heartfelt efforts have been truly transformative. For those who love the arts or those that just want to be inspired by a powerful story of determination and passion, The Bee and the Acorn is a perfect book to read. Inside and out.