Recently a friend sent me a link to an article that mentioned Quincy Jones suggestion that he would push President-elect Obama to develop a cabinet level post for the arts. A petition requesting the same is circulating the web and gaining quite a number of signatures. As working artists we know beyond a doubt how important art is not only to our lives but the entire world. Imagine what a world look like without art, without the creativly designed buildings of Frank Gehry, the landscapes of Frederick Law Olmsted ( Designer of Central Park in NY and many, many of our open spaces), the sculptures of Calder or the humor of Opus. Try to imagine also a life without, paintings, prints or photographs on your walls, a life eating off of colorless and uninspiring dinnerware, of sitting on chairs all designed using the same pattern, a life without music.
Now how does such a life feel? Pretty drab, boring and depressing. We are who we are today largley because working artists have continued to contribute their passion and vision of the world to balance the left brained dominance of industrialization. Besides passion and creativity working artists (regardless of medium) we cause people to laugh, to sing, to hug, to weep and to hope. We hold a mirror to the world as a constant reminder of where we as a collective are heading…we ask questions and provide multi-faceted answers.
So…yes a Secretary of the Arts would be a good start but we need more than a focus on celebrity. We need an honest grass roots revolution to take place that would not just put art back into schools but make it a regular part of every curriculum. Art teaches us to see, to feel, to be aware of our surroundings and our mutual connectedness. No the point is not to birth a thousand Michaelangelos, but rather to reinforce and support the ability to see the world from different points of view, to step out of linearity and into wandering. Such an inclusion will give us the ability to accept our own creativity, to let go of fear and judgment because we will know that failure only means that another door opens, that innovation, growth and achievement cannot happen without failure. Linear thinking has taught us that if you don’t get it “right” the first time you are a failure, there is no such thing a iterative thinking.
Building a grass roots focus on creativity and art will also lead to an entire generation, willing to tackle problems like global warming, poverty, hunger and even crime in ways a linear approach cannot fathom. In the process those of us who have lived our lives as creatives can help awaken the hearts of those who self-deprecate their own efforts to create. We can help them see that creativity is not about perfection or judgement. It is instead about passion, about opening the doors of the heart to dream to risk and to feel the warmth of creating something reflective of our souls.
Please, don’t just click the link to the petition also add your thoughts that would help bring art and creativity back to our schools,our communities and our lives. Write your representatives and senators urge them to include art in all education related legislation.
Here is the link to the petition for Secretary of the Arts Thanks and keep creating the world needs you!
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