October 17 – Hobbs, NM. The Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame, located on the campus of New Mexico Junior College, will host a “Meet the Artist” reception on Saturday, October 21, from 1 to 3 p.m. for featured artist Ginny St. John.
Ginny’s story, however, is unlike that of other artists.
Her parents recall that she was around the age of two when her father William called out to his little Ginny Sue on the playground, but she didn’t respond. As he got louder with each step closer and there was still no response from Ginny, he realized his daughter could not hear.
William and his wife Virginia soon discovered that Ginny had been deaf since birth. It was very important to the St. Johns that Ginny receive an education, so they enrolled her in public school. Although Ginny attended public school for several years, Ginny’s parents resolved to find a school better suited for her, one that would teach students to use sign language to communicate.
The family first moved to Colorado where she attended a school for the deaf and blind, but later moved to Santa Fe where she could attend a more specialized school for the deaf and hard of hearing. It was there, at the age of 12, that one of Ginny’s teachers, Flora Varrera, first recognized Ginny’s enthusiasm and passion for art and her outstanding gift for painting.
An only child, Ginny received a great deal of attention from her family throughout her life. She was especially close to two aunts who, having no children themselves, considered Ginny their own. From them, Ginny learned to ride horses, fish, and even shoot guns. Thanks to family members such as her aunts, her devoted parents, and dedicated teachers who embraced, encouraged, and engaged her and her natural talent, Ginny developed into an extraordinary artist.
Occasionally, Ginny has painted outdoors, but for the most part she prefers to select pictures she fancies from magazines and to simply paint those. According to her parents, since her passion for art was discovered, there is not a day in Ginny’s life that she has not painted. Her realistic style, developed through years of practice, makes animals and landscapes come alive on the canvas.
Nowadays, on the walls of Ginny’s home here in Hobbs quietly hang a variety of paintings, including one of Corrie Ten Boom, a favorite painting of a horse, and even delicate, hand-painted china dishes which she’s done. Ginny has never sold any of her pieces but frequently enters them in county fairs instead, almost always winning blue ribbons for her efforts. An active participant in her church’s deaf community, Ginny enjoys the weekly classes and Bible readings. It’s a pleasant, well-ordered life by any standards.
And for Ginny St. John, the world will remain a silent, peaceful studio in which art is her chosen medium—the only medium—through which she may find self-expression and true communication.
For more information about the “Meet the Artist” reception for Ginny St. John, please call the Museum at 575.392.6730.
Mexico Junior College, 5317 Lovington Hwy, Hobbs, NM 88240
Phone: 575.392.4510, 1.800.657.6260
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