Rebekah Britton, a senior from Jacksonville, Alabama, won Best of the School of Arts and Humanities in the undergraduate division of the 2019 JSU Student Symposium. She is an art major with a concentration in ceramics and a member of the JSU Potter’s Guild. This semester, she is working on her senior art show in preparation for graduation.
Do you have any hobbies?
When I’m not in school, I usually hike or spend as much time outside as I can; it gives me time to clear my head and lets me create better work.
What is your favorite thing to eat on/off campus?
I’m vegan, so its hard for me to eat on campus and around Jacksonville. But I really enjoy cooking! It’s a good creative outlet for me, so I usually don’t eat out much.
Why did you decide to attend JSU?
JSU offered me a full scholarship. At first, I was upset about coming to JSU. My parents went to JSU and have lived here since. There was a lot of young, “I’m getting out of this town” angst, but I’m glad I ended up here. I’ve met a lot of people that became important parts of my life, and I wouldn’t have met them otherwise.
Why did you choose your major?
I’ve always been artistic, and art is always what I’ve loved doing, but I abstained from being an art major for the fear that there are no jobs within that degree. I took some drawing and photo classes for fun and started talking to the teachers about those concerns, and I realized how wrong I was. I noticed afterwards that I started becoming more confident and comfortable about myself and my college experience. That’s kind of how I knew I had picked the right major.
Who was your mentor for the Student Symposium?
My mentor was Sarah Miles. She’s one of the photo professors in the art department. I did the project for an independent study with her.
What do you plan to do with the prize money?
In all honesty, I had no idea there was prize money until right before! I just assumed you got bragging rights and a good résumé line. I remember hearing a couple comments about it two days before I presented and right before the awards ceremony. I’m still not even sure how much I won; it was just cool to be able to share my art. The money is a good surprise though!
How did you come up with the idea for your project/What is your project about?
I had the idea before I asked to do an independent study. It’s based on an experience I had with my grandfather a few years ago. He started repeating questions and his stories started losing detail and imagery, becoming just major points. I had this click in my brain—this realization that those stories and memories were gone. I couldn’t get them back. I had to come to accept that they were gone. But I didn’t want that to happen to my grandmother, too. So I created the book as a tactile, immersive experience that encompasses who she is and serves as a record of her stories and pictures. It explores communication without physical presence. The whole book is based on this self-realization of the importance of memory preservation.
What do you love most about this project?
I think my favorite thing about the book is that after she’s gone (fortunately she’s still alive), I have this artful, immersive, intimate object that’s in a format I can not only have for myself, but share with other people.