Art Alumna Wants to Help Awaken Others’ Creativity

An artist poses for the camera in front of her paintings in a gallery.
Rebecca Godfrey (BA 2009, ARH) won a cash award for her work, “Fully Aware I,” in the 2019 West Alabama Juried Show.

Rebecca Godfrey (BA 2009, art history) has undergone some creative changes in her life since her days as an undergraduate in art history. Now, Godfrey is a self-taught, abstract artist working primarily with acrylic and watercolor. She recently won a cash award for her work, Fully Aware I, in the 2019 West Alabama Juried Show.

After her undergraduate years in art history, but before taking up painting, Godfrey worked as a freelance graphic designer for fifteen years. Since 2016, Godfrey has also taught art classes at American Christian Academy in Tuscaloosa and to adults in a weekly small group at her church, which now has a waiting list. “I was struck by how many adults wanted an opportunity to express themselves creatively, but felt scared and unqualified,” Godfrey wrote. “After that semester, I knew part of my personal mission is to help people realize they are creative…It’s so important to me that people know art is for everyone, that you were born to create, and the world desperately needs your unique creative expression.”

Godfrey said that she still works at freelance design, but her main focus now is abstract painting while working in an administrative job. “[The job] frees me up at home to make the art I want to without regard to whether or not it’s marketable. My art process is meditative and largely improvisational – mostly because my media is fluid and I work on a synthetic substrate (polypropylene). It has been therapeutic for me because I am pretty organized – a big planner, tidy and all that. The art I’m making right now can’t always be controlled.”

In a sense, Godfrey’s path from art history to art studio has brought her full circle, yet with more experience and wisdom to help others. “If I could go back and re-do undergrad, I still 100% would major in art history at UA. From the very first day of my first ARH course (Dr. Nancarrow’s Northern Renaissance), I loved it. But I would have a serious chat with my freshman self about why I chose art history over studio art. If I’m being honest – it was because I didn’t feel qualified to be an artist, only to appreciate someone else’s work. I want to be someone who tells people they can. They are.”

Rebecca Godfrey’s art website is here.

For more information about the degree programs in the Department of Art and Art History, go to this page or contact the department at (205) 348-5967.