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The Art of Failure: The Benefits of the Arts

by Kaylee R. Hall

Our experiences affect how we view and relate to the Arts. For some, the Arts have always been a safe place where success and failure have minimal consequences. With the Arts mistakes can be painted over and beauty can emerge from failed attempts. The piano can be played poorly until it’s played beautifully; the Arts are the definition of progress. The room for error in the Arts allows room for growth in life. The Arts are the very essence of freedom for some, but for others it seems very intimidating. There is a sense that students of the Arts will fail more often than they succeed. In theory, failure should grow us as individuals and inspire us to persevere until the desired results are obtained. However, the concept of failure seems to paralyze some of its victims with fear.

I had the opportunity to interview a few professors at Judson College on the influence of the Arts. Interestingly enough, in each interview the conversation turned to the concept of failure. Professor Josh Pickens of the Art department had an inspiring take on the subject:

We’re taught that failure is bad, ‘whatever you do don’t fail,’ and that’s just not realistic. If you’re going to fail, fail spectacularly and then learn from it. Sit back and think to yourself, ‘That went horribly. That was a dumpster fire. What can I take away from it?’ The Arts are very good at making people feel bad at something. I think people are afraid of being really bad at something, like doing it and just being awful. That is a learned fear that’s ingrained in them from a very early age. Failure should grow us as a person but sometimes it just destroys people. Sometimes they get so caught up in the fact that they’ve failed, that they don’t think about how they can avoid it in the future.[1]


Perhaps it is not failure itself that causes us to shrink away in fear, it is the way we fail. So how do we learn how to fail correctly or to “fail spectacularly” as Pickens put it? If success is the product of growth, and growth comes from failure, in theory, failure should be the key to success. The Arts have the ability to teach us how to fail in a way that is not detrimental to us. Failure in the Arts is not picking up the pieces like shattered glass; it is simply readjusting the pieces of a puzzle. The Arts and life have many things in common, one of them being ambiguity. Every piece of art can be interpreted different ways depending on the person looking at it. If a painting can be interpreted a million ways, which interpretation is the correct one? Is every interpretation of a painting correct because different people see different beauty? With the art there is not really a right or wrong answer; there is technique, and what works and does not work.  Professor Stephanie Peek of the Religion Department expanded upon this in my interview with her:

[The Arts] opens us up to the fact that the world really isn’t all that black and white, no matter how much we’d like it to be. The world is much more fluid and dynamic, it is shades of gray and everything in between. Art helps us experience that in ways that are more comforting. In a world where you’re like ‘Is this right or wrong?’ and you don’t know, that shade of gray is very disquieting to the soul. [It is like walking] through a gallery and have a painting catch your eye, and you just sit and stare at for half an hour because you can’t quite figure out how you feel about it. ‘Do I love this, or do I hate it? And is that okay that I can’t tell the difference?’ Sometimes I’ll look at the same painting and I’ll love it today and hate it tomorrow, and I can’t always give you a reason why. Art has really helped me accept the ambiguity in life.[2]

Peek continued to share some of her experiences with the arts and how it has influenced her life. It was inspiring to hear how her participation in theatrical performance created a fearless attitude that carried over into her professional career. Peek is able to fearlessly lead and educate her students because of all the times she had to overcome fear on stage. The Arts develop character in a way that other fields do not. The Arts make us brave and build confidence, self-assurance, and humility.  Incredible artists are not just talented people that are immediately good at whatever they try, they are individuals that have perfected their craft over time from failed attempts and critiques from other artists. Professor Peek had a brilliant take on this concept: “Something every student could benefit from is the humility in recognizing that we’re all learners in progress.  People are going to critique our work, and it’s going to hurt because it feels like they’re critiquing us. They’re not, they’re trying to help us grow. Critique is part of growth, if no one critiques what you do, you don’t learn.”[3]

From physical to mental to emotional, studying the Arts changes people for the better. The Arts encourage sympathy, empathy, and establishes and heals connections. The Arts help us understand who we are as individuals and gives the ability to understand and relate to others in a unique way. When we engage in the Arts, we are training our brains how to think in a productive way, and how to effectively solve problems. It helps with memorization, managing time, understanding stress triggers, and how to continue being productive while under stress. The Arts are very powerful and impactful to its students. Dr. Jessica Spafford of the music department is a living testament to the impact of the Arts.

[The Arts have] impacted me more than anything else outside of family and religious beliefs. It is by far the most impactful thing. It has made me empathetic to others. It has made me resilient; it takes extreme dedication to be in a practice room for hours just to fine tune one little thing. Being able to connect with others, making someone laugh or cry, making them feel something that maybe they didn’t feel before, making somebody understand something about themselves, that has shaped me.[4]

According to Professor Pickens, “[The Arts] can teach you everything you need in order to be good at whatever it is you do in the world. I think it has that potential to help. Even if you have no intention of becoming an artist, just taking an art class is incredibly beneficial.”[5]  The benefits of the Arts for future careers are endless.[6] Dr. Spafford shared about how after college, employers would take one look at her music major and hire her on the spot. Music is among one of the greatest disciplines of the mind and companies are fully aware of the diligence and dedication it takes just to major or minor in music. The Arts help with business, production, advertising, marketing, communications, and many other things.

The Arts train its students to be dedicated individuals in all areas of their life. The Arts are essential to human existence, and the more we ignore that, the more disconnected we become. The Arts deepens our purpose and gives us the ability to reach out to others to bring light to social issues we need to change. The Arts teach us how to be overcomers, how to fail spectacularly, and how to be fearless. Individuals that are students of the Arts are students of life. Perhaps it is true that some skills cannot be taught in a classroom, but most life skills seem to be taught in classrooms belonging to the Arts.

[1] (Pickens, 2019)

[2] (Peek, 2019)

[3] (Peek, 2019)

[4] (Spafford, 2019)

[5] (Pickens, 2019)

[6] (Zuckerman, 2014)

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Dear Anne Curt-ly: Possessed Plumbing

Dear Anne Curt-ly,

 I am currently living on campus in the WMU dorm, and I am having a major problem with my shower. I’ll be standing there just trying to shampoo my hair, and then all of a sudden my shower water will turn either SUPER hot or SUPER cold, and there’s no in-between! I’ll have to stand there and wait until my shower decides to act right again. Do you know why this is happening? Are you just messing with us?


Suds n’ Duds


Dear Anne Curt-ly

Dear Suds n’ Duds,

I must first clarify that as I am a ghost, showers are not an immediate necessity for me, so frankly, it’s been a few decades since my last one. Therefore, unfortunately, I cannot help very much with the understanding of plumbing and whatnot. However, I can assure you that although I’m flattered that I’m the first person that came to mind in your dealings with this phenomenon, the WMU dorms aren’t my favorite places to roam. I rarely go past the elevator–I prefer checking in on the freshmen. I find it pleasantly amusing to take their signs and tapestries off the wall when they aren’t looking. If you’d prefer, I could ask a few of my phantom companions if they are the culprits of the calamity. Perhaps inquiry is key to the incident.

…. Or, perhaps it would be more timely to put in a maintenance request.


Anne Curt-ly


You too can write to Anne Curt-ly for advice at any time night or day @

Please feel free to send any questions and please note that your name will be changed for anonymity’s sake. Thank you to those who have provided such stimulating questions thus far. – The Staff

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And They Lived “Unhappily Ever After”!

The Alumnae Auditorium was alive with the sounds of chatter and laughter as faculty, staff, and students alike patiently awaited the drawing of the curtain on the evening of October 5, 2019. Glittering posters, made by the seniors, cheered on the Jr-Soph class from the balcony. Big sisters sat in the wooden seats with bouquets of flowers littered in their laps and at their feet. The crowd came to an abrupt hush as the lights of the auditorium’s elegant chandelier dimmed and Head of Virtue Committee Julia Singleton took the podium onstage. Pageant 2019 had begun.

This year’s Jr-Soph Pageant was based on the play “Unhappily Ever After,” the story of a counselor who holds a counseling session for a hodgepodge of fairy-tale characters to see how they are getting along. Little does the counselor know, their “happily ever after” isn’t very happy at all!

In keeping with Judson College tradition, the play was “Judson-ized” for the enjoyment of the Jr-Sophs’ big sister class, as well as other Judson faculty, staff, and alumnae. The Jr-Soph class had the opportunity to represent their beloved families with hilarious jokes, silly songs, and exceptional dance moves!

Elaina Johnson, this year’s Pageant director, describes her experience with leading her class in this exciting tradition: “Leading my class was hard, stressful, and scary, because I had never done anything like it before,” she explained. “In the end, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. Not because I was able to be ‘in charge,’ but because I got to know my class in a different way, and they also got to know me differently. I’m forever grateful and honored for the experience they gave me.”

Immediately following the show, the audience had the opportunity to meet with the cast and crew and show their praise and appreciation. Refreshments were served in the foyer and parlors of Jewett Hall.


For more information on Pageant and other traditions, see a previous article.

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Writing Center Upgrades in Comfort

by Grace Terry

Judson’s Writing Center has returned with a fully updated room and new staff. Its new homey appearance, complete with a decorative rug, wall tapestry, and corner desk, invites students to enter and discuss their works with members of the Writing Center team.

Chasely Matmanivong now works as the head of the student staff, training new employees in order to maintain performance. This team of members includes seniors Kassidy Giles and Grace Terry, and Jr-Sophs Lela Ball and Madilyn Peters, who have begun journeying with other students through the editorial process for various papers.

Employees now can work in a space designed to bring more comfort to not only themselves, but also visiting students who seek peer feedback on papers. The goal of the 2019-2020 Writing Center is to provide a welcoming atmosphere and to maintain its performance.

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Rose Sunday Turns 104

“The ivy chain on Rose Sunday bound us together, In love’s sweet devotion for aye.” These lyrics from the senior song “A Spray of Laughter” sum up the true meaning of Rose Sunday. Rose Sunday is a tradition that has been around since 1915. It symbolizes the bond we share not only with the current classes, but with the sister classes who came before us. Each year the freshmen weave the ivy with the help of their soon-to-be big sister class. As both classes hold up the chain, the senior class comes through the two lines dressed in their academic regalia. Then after the classes sing short prayer songs, the president, faculty, and students walk down the street to Siloam Baptist Church, where the president delivers a message.

In the year 1915, Judson College held its first Rose Sunday, in honor of when Milo P. Jewett, the first president of Judson College, would invite the students to walk with him to Siloam Baptist Church. Siloam has been home to many of Judson’s presidents and students. Some of Siloam’s members founded Judson as well as Samford University.

As we come to celebrate Judson’s 104th celebration of Rose Sunday, we welcome Dr. Mark Tew back to our Judson family for his first Rose Sunday as president of the college.

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The Fresh Face of Judson

by Lela Ball

Over the course of a mere summer, vast improvements have been made across campus. Julia Barron Hall has received a majority of the renovations: bathroom outlets were moved to more reachable and convenient locations, the bathroom walls were repainted, light fixtures were replaced, and new tiles were installed in the bathroom floors.

In Jewett, the dining hall received renovations as well. The back received a fresh coat of paint as well as new cabinets. The old tile was pulled up in the main dining hall, and the floor leading into Archibald also received an upgrade. New equipment is also now being used.

As for the J, major changes have been made. The entire second floor has been renovated, each room now lively and busy. Some painting was also done in this building. The replacement of the HVAC on the second floor is another dramatic change. Possibly the most exciting renovation is the moving of The Vault (now simply the bookstore) back into the J, which has greatly pleased the student body. Finally, the Judson Eagles’ soccer field as received a new scoreboard.

Please take note that several offices have moved around due to the exciting changes in the J. Courtney Tindale is now in the office next to the mail room, and Ms. Sulynn Creswell is just down the hall. Amy Butler, Sarah Fowler and Coach Cynthia White have all moved to the second floor, as has the location of the SGA boardroom.

The Triangle will continue to update you on any more developments.

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Get Connected with Student Activities

by Trinity Littleton

Attending college will eventually lead to a job that will enable you to succeed, but college can be so much more than sitting and listening to lectures! Joining a campus social or academic organization is one of the best ways to make the most of your experience. Getting involved eases the transition from high school to college. Here are a few reasons why you should consider being engaged on campus.

Making Connections. A degree will qualify you for a job, but the connections you have are just as important. Judson College provides you with the perfect opportunity to build relationships with other women who could potentially help you land a job you may not have been able to reach as easily without their positive feedback.

Jr-Soph class president Anna Johnson stated that her RA (Resident Assistant) was like a mentor to her, and the relationship they formed and leadership qualities Anna developed inspired her to become one herself. Anna began building connections with the girls on Kirtley’s second floor during the summer. She went the extra mile to reach out to them individually and help make their transition into dorm life a little bit easier. “It takes intentional effort and a willingness to get to know people and meet them where they are. It’s easier to maintain relationships when you try to build them before everyone arrives,” Anna said.

Community. At some point you will begin to refer to your college campus as your home. But making campus home doesn’t happen overnight! You must put effort into creating a community for yourself. Judson provides ways to get involved in clubs and meet people you may not have met when sticking to your everyday schedule.

Morgan Rittenhouse, president of the Athletic Board, encourages athletes and non-athletes to consider joining A-Board if they are looking to serve others in very small ways. The main purpose of A-Board is working together to create an environment for athletes to receive support and help games run as smoothly as possible. Whether it’s keeping score, chasing soccer balls, creating signs or cleaning up after games, there are many options for you to choose from to serve our athletic program. “We’re all just students who care about our athletes and want to help. Everyone holds the ability to do it, we just want/need to find the ones who are committed enough to follow through,” Morgan says when describing A-Board from her perspective.

Discovering New Interest. Taking a risk and joining a club can oftentimes result in reward. Finding new passions, strengths and talents can only happen if you choose to step out of your comfort zone. If you are undecided, this is one way to potentially find your career path and the experience you gain could be enough to lead you in unexpected directions.

Jordan Hooks, president of the Spanish Club, gives an interesting statement that sums up this reason to get involved almost perfectly. “The purpose in Spanish Club is to give students more opportunities to learn about culture and language outside of the classroom. There have been events such as movie nights, celebrating Día de los Muertos, and making piñatas for Treats on Bibb Street, just to name a few. This semester we are also participating in Hispanic Heritage month. Anyone is welcome to join even if they aren’t a Spanish major/minor; we don’t speak Spanish at meetings so don’t feel pressured there,” Jordan states. She would like to encourage anyone with the slightest interest in the Spanish department to consider listening to her story on why she chooses to be more involved in her major this way and what she loves about it.

Below is a list of all the clubs and organizations on campus for you to get involved in! Attending one or two meetings doesn’t automatically force you to become a member, so don’t hesitate to stop by, sit in on a meeting, and ask questions. Make sure to get detailed information on how flexible their schedule is, and what each specific club is participating in before you make any commitments.

Academic Department Organizations

Art Club / Business Club / History Club / Psychology Club / Science Club / Social Work Club / Spanish Club / Nursing Club / Equine Club / Scrimshaw

Academic Honor Societies

Alpha Phi Sigma / Beta Beta Beta / Delta Omicron / Kappa Delta Epsilon / Phi Alpha Theta / Sigma Beta Delta / Sigma Tau Delta

Service Organizations

Faith-Based Service Learning / SGA / Campus Ministries / LAMP / Ambassador / Social Committee / Honor Council / A-Board


Triangle / Conversationalist / Freshman Class / Junior-Soph Class / Senior Class / Resident Assistants

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Campus Tree Falls Unexpectedly

by Trinity Littleton

Tuesday, October 1, 2019, the quiet campus of Judson College was quickly disrupted. At approximately 3 p.m., right before the first volleyball match against Mississippi University for Women, one of the trees in front of the library fell. AJ McKay happened to be around when the fall occurred.

“I predicted it was going to fall earlier that day, so I wasn’t totally surprised when it did! A few hours later, I was walking over to Tucker and heard an alarmingly loud noise. I looked back in time to see half of the tree crash into the ground right in front of the library. I just kind of stared, shocked. Luckily no one was under it!” she said.

AJ revisited the site with some friends and snapped a few pictures. Kate Wright, editor of “The Triangle,” stood next to the tree for reference of size. Asking around, I received responses from many who believed that the tree may have been a live oak. Whatever type of tree it was, it was beautiful and the change of it being gone was much more drastic than what I imagined. Pictured below are just a couple of pictures taken by students as the tree was in the process of being cleaned up.

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The One Who Runs the College

The Judson community might already be familiar with the words “she is the one who runs the college,” often said by Judson’s late president Dr. David Potts. That “she” is Mrs. Mary Ellen Clements, Potts’ longtime secretary.

Born and raised here in Marion, Ala., Clements has lived here her whole life. She is a mother of three daughters, and now she is a grandma of four girls and two boys.

Previously, Clements held a few part-time jobs at Marion Military Institute and a clothing department store in downtown Marion. Her first full-time job was in the library of Judson. In the summertime during her stint at the library, she worked in the development office because the library was closed during this time. After that, she served as a switchboard operator when Judson acquired a telephone system.

When she left this job, she worked outside of Judson for few years. However, in 1993 she came back to Judson as a secretary to the president. This is a position that she still holds today. She has been in the office for 25 years. If we also count the years when she was in library, she has served Judson for thirty years.

Throughout the years her favorite thing about Judson has been attending chapel. She explains, “Chapel service is very meaningful to me because I am able to stop to go and worship together with the community. It just helps me to get through the rest of the week.”

Her favorite memory of Judson, when Potts was still in the office, also includes the meaningful time when faculty and staff members have meetings in the president’s office. They always have an opportunity to share prayer requests, and they pray for each other before the meeting starts.

As a secretary to Potts, she scheduled his appointments and all the meetings that he had to attend. She was responsible for any of his correspondence, typing all of his letters to be mailed out to alumnae and other friends of the college. Her main responsibility was the communication between the college and the three boards of the college. The three boards include the Board of Trustees, the Board of Advisors, and the Board of Governors that meet several times in a year.

She was responsible for sending out letters to them about meeting and preparing materials for them prior to that meeting day. When they actually come to campus, she sits in the meetings and takes notes. After each meeting, she types up her notes and mails them out to the board members.

In the past, she would also compile reports from each department into one big report and prepare it to mail out to the board members before they attended the meeting, so they had the report of activities at the college. When asked, her most trying time is when she prepares for their report to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) which accredits Judson. Since it is very important for the college to remain accredited, they have to be sure the report is perfect. They spend many hours compiling those reports, so this is the most stressful part of her job at Judson.

Clements’ responsibilities have changed since Potts’ absence in the office. For her, it’s been a totally different routine since she no longer has to complete these correspondences; other offices are handling these tasks now. However, she is still involved with board meetings.h

When Potts was here, she was much busier. She recalls about Potts that “He was a very good boss, very kind and considerate and very family oriented. I never had a problem if I had a sick family member and needed to be away from the office.”

She expounds on her favorite memory as a secretary to Potts for decades by saying, “My favorite memories are the times we were able to share our faith and personal stories together, God moments that we had each had, things that had happened to us when God answered our prayers. It is the time we shared our hearts together. I love when his grandchildren came in, and he was just all smiles, and when my grandchildren came in, he always smiled and just stopped to give time [for them].” Clements “wants Judson like, Dr. Potts always said, to be a place of Christ, that we would never veer from that mission and that we will be the place that our founders intended it to be.”

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Christian Emphasis Week

by Aqui Lacy, Staffwriter

Judson has been doing Christian Emphasis Week for over 60 years! This tradition started in the 1940s when one Judson student suggested to the then president of the school, John Riddle, that there should be more encouragement of the students’ spiritual lives with different special guest speakers. President Riddle took that suggestion and thought well along with the idea. With the rest of the Judson staff and faculty in agreement as well, Judson College had their  first Religious Emphasis week. The student that suggested this idea later became a part of the WMU (Woman’s Missionary Union).

Since then Judson has valued this tradition very well. Judson has now changed the name from Religious Emphasis Week to the more specific Christian Emphasis Week. Each year Christian Emphasis Week gets a new speaker for three days consecutively. Christian Emphasis Week is always held in Judson’s Ramsay-McCrummen Chapel. All three of these services are open to the public for everyone in the community to hear the speakers that travel in to speak.

Very often some speakers bring another guest with them to accompany them such as with things they do to cover the music portion of worship. Other times Judson will provide for them by letting the staff or students lead the worship portion. This year Judson had their own very special guest for both the speaker and worship leader for Christian Emphasis Week.

This year our speaker was Terrence Jones and our worship leader was Rayellen English. English is the worship leader at her church in Texas.

Jones is originally from Norman Park, Georgia. As a young boy Jones attended church regularly. At a young age Jones made a declaration of his faith. As Jones grew older he received a football scholarship to attend Tuskegee University.

While attending Tuskegee, he was in campus ministry outreach and became overwhelmed with how he was then living. Jones’ lifestyle and Christian profession did not match up. During this time was when Jones came to the realization that what he needed was his Savior. Terrence describes this moment as very eye opening. By the age of nineteen Jones truly gave and trusted his life with his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ again. After graduation from Tuskegee University, Jones later went on to get his Masters of Divinity degree in California.

Jones opened up to the school and community with his personal testimony by sharing how he and his wife lost their first child. As student Jordan Hooks said, “I really liked the speaker because it was very thought provoking, and I really enjoyed how he shared his testimony.”

Jones spoke of his struggles through his life to show us that we all can overcome our struggles. Student Katelyn Lawrence said, “I enjoyed Christian Emphasis Week because it allowed me to take a break from the rush of school. I was able to slow down and actually focus on my relationship with God. It was a way for me to get back on track with my quiet time and devotions. He really encouraged us as a student body and as individuals to live out our lives honestly and purposefully for Christ.”


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