“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up” Pablo Picasso
Art is not separate from life but an endless interaction with life. In fact, the arts have been a part of the human experience since the beginning of time. Our ancestors painted on the walls of caves, sang, and performed dances of ritual and celebration. In ancient times, and today, in some indigenous cultures, art lives on as a life-essential. Celebrating the invisible thread that connects humanity, the arts have been a method of documenting our history, providing meaning, and shaping our experiences across time. As an essential part of humanity, the arts provide a continuous thread that connects generations through imagery, movement, and voice. Through music, theater, dance, the visual and literary arts, we witness what humans can accomplish with their voices and their bodies. The arts provide a means for expressing the inexpressible, inspiring courage, enriching celebrations, and transforming our tragedies into triumphs of artistic expression. It would be impossible to imagine a world without the arts. Audrey Flack, a well-known artist wrote this poem about the power of art to transform and to heal.
I believe in art.
I do not believe in the “art world” as
it is today.
I do not believe in art as a commodity.
Great art is in exquisite balance.
It is restorative.
I believe in the energy of art, and through
the use of that energy, the artists’ ability
to transform his or her life and, by example,
the lives of others.
I believe that through our art, and through
the projection of transcendent imagery,
we can mend and heal the planet.
I am both an artist and a teacher. I have worked in two worlds balancing my need to create with the desire to encourage creativity in my students. With over twenty five years of teaching expereince, I have witnessed the amazing transformation of students and teachers as they connect, or sometimes reconnect, with their artistic natures. When “doing art,” something happens that is both inexplicable and touches upon both the inner and outer worlds of the person involved in the act of art making. During the process or in the final stages, the value and importance of the activity can be conveyed—visually, theatrically, and/or verbally in stories or poetry. When people begin to engage with art processes, they understand that what they are doing is somehow important on both an intimate and personal level. Words may not be able to articulate what is often felt or embodied, yet, at a visceral level, when people engage in the “doing of art,” there is recognition of art’s beneficial power. According to neuroscientist Kelly Lambert, “hands-on work satisfies our primal craving to create solid objects; it could also be an antidote to our cultural malaise.” If the arts could potentially provide an antidote to our “cultural malaise,” might they also offer a remedy for the educational malaise often present in our schools today? Art is a change agent. The arts feed my soul, so that whenever I am engaged in artistic practice, I am reminded of art’s power to support and inspire and transform.
How can the process of making art support you in your personal and professional life as an educator? Does the act of making art transform your experiences and provide you with insights or “aha” moments? Have you seen art transform the world of your students?
Share your thoughts, images and written words.
Cover image: Participant notes from a teacher workshop on the power of the arts