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Many years ago, on my first trip to New Mexico, I visited a memorable art gallery. The art collection was exquisite, as was the indoor-and-outdoor sculptured-garden space. But the true stand-out was the owner, Adele, a vivacious New York City transplant. I remember asking if she, herself, was an artist. She threw her head back, combed fingers through her long hair and laughed.
“No, I’m not. And do I have a story for you.”
We sat on her terrace, sipping chardonnay and nibbling cheese, as Adele recalled her move to New Mexico. After a few weeks, she invited her only “neighbor”(whose house was miles away) for lunch.
“I made homemade soup, cut fresh flowers from my garden, I was excited,” says Adele. But when the neighbor arrived, excitement quickly turned to intimidation.
“She surveyed my table, peeked inside my soup pot, ran her eyes up and down, then asked if I was an artist,” says Adele. “I told her no, but she pursued.”
“Do you paint?”
“Play a musical instrument? Dance? Write? Act?”
“My answer was no, no, no,” says Adele. “At this point, I wanted to skip lunch, throw her out of my house, I didn‘t care who she was. Then she leaned close to me and smiled, took my hand. “You are so lucky she told me. Because when you‘re an artist, or when you have an undying passion to do or be something, you don‘t have any other choice.”
Adele’s ‘neighbor’ was artist Georgia O‘Keefe.
Over the years, I’ve thought a lot about that exchange and how, with an inner-drive and passion, comes responsibility to follow it through and see where it leads. Not only for artists, but for everyone.
Certainly for me (and many reading this), that passion and drive has been in taking the road less traveled. I’m so blessed to have made a career doing what I love.
Following my passion has literally taken me around the world, and after decades in the travel industry, inspired me to create Janine Cifelli Representation. Now, creation of JCR has led to a fresh new website, and the debut of our editorial-style blog, The Jaj of Travel. I hope you will enjoy our stories, share your own with us, and check in often for travel news and insights on some of the most glorious places on the planet. – Jaj
(photos courtesy of Gallery Arts, Florence)
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