Below is an edited version of my remarks.
A phrase that I love using as an educator and working artist is “former student/current colleague.” So with that, Good Morning Colleagues!
What does it mean to be colleagues? I put my nerd hat on (let’s face it, it never comes off), and dug into the etymology. The word itself means professionals working together towards a common goal.
I originally thought the word must come from the same root as “collaborate,” which would have been fodder or all kinds of waxing poetic this morning. But, I was wrong.
I learned that it descends from the Latin verb legare, which means “to choose or to send.” So as colleagues we have chosen to be in a community of artists.
And that brings me to my absolute favorite thing to be able to say about someone in our community, which is “that person is an artist who supports other artists.” I am happier to use this description more so than to say someone is talented, because talent alone is nothing.