My week long visit to St. Lawrence University in Canton, NY where I graduated with an M. Ed. in ’06 was divine! This teaching and speaking residency gave me the opportunity to spend time sharing stories from my nine years of teaching art in LA, as well as learning about how the education cuts are impacting the local education community on the opposite side of the country. And, to meet some wonderful, very creative and inspiring university students and profs!
I spent time with several classes interacting with over 120 SLU undergraduate and graduate students. It was such fun!
On Thursday, I was involved with speaking and sharing about my art work and the global initiative World Wide Weavers (www.worldwideweavers.com) with two other local artists Paul Pedersen and Michael Frenette spoke and shared their work with the group of about 30+ students and community members.
At the end of the creative session, we re-gathered and debriefed together about the “creative process” that was experienced. It was wonderful and interesting to witness many similar stories that these science majors and various other “non-artists” had to share about their love of making art and how they feel that their creativity has been sucked out of them or pushed down as they moved ahead into high school and university life. The overarching theme was how it was so refreshing and like drinking a glass of cool water after a walk across the desert to pick up a paint brush and simply express themselves in color, shape, and forms. Without judgment, correct answers, or any specific instructions or mandated outcomes. In addition, as students they said that they are used to be told exactly what is expected, how to get to the right answer via a proven formula and path. And, when asked to create, invent, innovate something out of nothing with little boundaries given, they feel unprepared and confused. Uh oh….
The beauty of this open, unstructured art experience was that although the participants were not given specific instructions, each one came up with their own success story!
The arts give so much in the way of critical thinking skills, the capacity to invent, to be flexible, to innovate, to collaborate- all 21st century skills for the global market.
For specific info on the Creative Economy in California, see the Otis Report
Save the Arts!
Peace and Love,