“One thing that is more affirming than surprising is that the majority of my co-workers and colleagues were so supportive of my fellowship, encouraging me and offering assistance in my absence. I work with a great group of arts professionals!”
For her creative renewal, Lisa Whitaker indulged in her three loves: travel, writing, and photography. She attended the Jane Austen Festival in Louisville, KY, joined a gathering of J.R.R. Tolkien fans in Harrodsburg, KY, spent a weekend in Monterey, CA (including a stop at John Steinbeck's Cannery Row), and embarked on a two-week walking/literary tour through four cities of the United Kingdom: Bath, Devon, Oxford, and Edinburgh, Scotland. “While my initial decision in visiting all these destinations was not particularly tied to any literary purpose, I found I could not help but be drawn to places famed for some of my favorite authors.” Austen, Burns, Rowling, Steinbeck, and Lewis were just a few of the writers that came to mind during her journey. “Being in the places they lived and wrote, I was inspired to consider their work and to write my own,” she said. Along with ample writing inspiration, Whitaker gained an insightful perspective about how U.S. society regards the arts compared to nations like the U.K. “Reflecting on all the places I visited helped me to realize that we are still a young country in so many ways, and sometimes quick to dispose of our arts and our resources when they don't suit the current fashion.” This realization helped cement her sense of responsibility to Indianapolis’ arts history.
Even though travelling always comes with its share of highs and lows, Whitaker is confident that she will never tire of it. Ultimately, taking time away from the stress of work and her personal life was the most renewing part of her fellowship.