Latent Emissions, Chakaia Booker
Pam Austin may not be aware of the connection she has with Michaelangelo, who once said at age 87, “I am still learning”. Talking to her, however, it becomes clear, because Pam loves to learn.
A life-long Hoosier, she calls herself an “original Granger-ite”. After gradating from Penn High School, the “old Penn High School”, she emphasizes, Pam started working in the banking industry. Working her way up, she held many positions, and even though she was at a table she had worked hard for, she felt like she did not belong. When conversation turned to college and alma matters, Pam became a master at changing the subject. It wasn’t until she wanted to improve her public speaking skills that someone suggested taking a college course. Once she did, she was hooked. She stated “going back to school has taught me I love to learn.” That love prompted her to get her BA and to go on to complete her MBA at Bethel College.
Pam’s passion for learning extends to the arts. She recalls fondly her first Snite Friends Christmas Benefit Dinner and said she was “hooked”. Pam became more involved with the Snite and attended evening gatherings there. One of her colleagues, Tim McTigue, recommended she join the board and the rest is history.
Pam’s patronage of the arts took a more personal tone when at the age of five, her son Nick, knew he waned to be an artist. A single, hardworking mom, Pam wanted Nick to experience the world and believed that traveling helps to understand “where you fit in the world.” During their adventures, they experienced the pyramids in Egypt, explored the Louvre, visited the Vatican, and so much more. When Nick received an internship in Venice, Pam was excited to visit! Though initially hesitant when Nick moved to New York for artistic pursuits, Pam realized that their adventurous travels helped him feel comfortable finding his place in the world and it allowed Pam to meet fresh faces in the art world at gatherings.
Pam claims she is not artistic herself, but her support and appreciation of the arts is clear. “The spirit of the artist is something like I have not seen before” she says when discussing current artist “I love seeing what the new people are doing.”
When reflecting on her educational journey, Pam said “It’s amazing what you don’t know and what I really enjoyed about going back later in life is that everyone brought a different life experience.” Pam continues to add new adventures and experiences. Now a grandmother of two, Pam travels to New York, every six weeks or so, to see her grandchildren. Recently, she traveled with her entire family to Korea and spoke animatedly about the different culture. She had just returned a few days before and would have had an excellent excuse for jet-lag or exhaustion, but none of that was apparent. It was not surprising however, because as Leonardo Da Vinci once said “Learning never exhausts the mind”, Pam Austin loves to learn.
Contributed by Christy Burgess, Friends Board of Director