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Publisher's Summary

Following her retirement from Princeton University, celebrated historian Dr. Nell Irvin Painter surprised everyone in her life by returning to school - in her 60s - to earn a BFA and MFA in painting. In Old in Art School, she travels from her beloved Newark to the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design; finds meaning in the artists she loves, even as she comes to understand how they may be undervalued; and struggles with the unstable balance between the pursuit of art and the inevitable, sometimes painful, demands of a life fully lived.

How are women and artists seen and judged by their age, looks, and race? What does it mean when someone says, "You will never be an artist?" Who defines what "an artist" is and all that goes with such an identity, and how are these ideas tied to our shared conceptions of beauty, value, and difference?

Old in Art School is Nell Painter's ongoing exploration of those crucial questions. Bringing to bear incisive insights from two careers, Painter weaves a frank, funny, and often surprising tale of her move from academia to art.

A Library Journal Editor's Pick for Spring. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 Nell Painter (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Jillian
  • 2018-08-07

Mixed Feelings

The book is well written and easy to listen to. Nell Painter is a very accomplished academic, as she often points out in the book. It didn't seem like she valued her formal education in the fine arts which made me wonder why she continued to pursue the degrees. To become an artist with a capital "A"? Having said this, she is an intelligent person with the drive and resources to reinvent herself later in life. Her story had a lot of potential to inspire others, but for me personally the book fell flat.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Carmen
  • 2018-08-11

Good story, but...

Good story, but title does not indicate the amount of history Painter includes as a history professor. Also included is Painter’s personal account of dealing with aging parents. Seniors will be inspired by her motivation and aspirations to become an accomplished artist despite life’s obstacles.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • 2018-07-13

Both interesting and boring

Too long and academic but with many important messages about being “old,” black, and female. Interesting to me as a poet because all the arts have similarities. Painter’s struggles with self-confidence will strike a chord with readers in creative professions.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Alessandra M. Parachini
  • 2018-07-11

Excellent if you are an artist

I thoroughly enjoyed and related to Nell as she meandered through the art world, artists and art itself. It is uplifting to hear someone else going through the same Via Crucis as I have. This book was well worth the listen while I worked at my own art.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • elizabeth obih
  • 2018-08-28

Engaging. Honest. Surprising.

Nell brings a lifetime of academic achievement into her exploration of a new path in later life. She writes honestly and openly about the challenges including those that come with family ties. Enjoyed it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • lvndrn
  • 2018-10-05

Good book for artists

While I don't agree with everything she said, it was interesting to hear the experience from her perspective.