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DOES ART REALLY MATTER?


 I have designed this special worksheet for you to download. The questions will help you reconnect with your creativity and help you to see like an artist. 

DOWNLOAD WORKSHEET HERE!


 

Maybe you have asked yourself this question?

Does art really matter?

In this podcast I share stories of how art and art education is changing lives, neighborhood’s and even nations.

Art is more important than we can suspect and removing art from our school curriculum is more detrimental than we think.


In the northern hemisphere the summer is speedily approaching. Everybody is busy with his or her holiday plans. When we go on holiday we enjoy a different culture, savor the local foods, enchanting nature and the local languages. When we come back home we see things through different eyes.

 I know I do! I walk into my house and I think is this really my house? I never saw that the tree in my yard had become so huge or that the coffee table is off center.

 When I come back from vacation I get inspired to renovate my house or revamp my garden or even change my lifestyle.  I feel alive and inspired and the experience have changed me.

Art that impacts

Art has the same impact. People look at a painting, listen to a song or visit a ballet and this experience will allow them to see the world through different eyes.

 As an artist you have the ability to transport our audience beyond the ordinary and the mundane and show them a world through your eyes. As an artist you turn an ordinary vistas or subject into new moments of revelation for your audience.

 In order for us as artists to create this experience we need to capture it first. If we want our audiences to close their computer, switch of their phones, look up and pay attention then we need to do this first.

 Slowing Down

As artist we need to SLOW DOWN long enough to see.  We need to take the time to see things through different eyes, in a new perspective. Breaking down the expected and expressing it in such a way that it sheds new light, new revelation, new insights. To reveal what is actually there but is missed by so many that are rushing past.

Let’s do an exercise!

Maybe you are sitting at your desk or on your couch. Find an object, a mundane everyday object, maybe your coffee mug, your water bottle or maybe your watch. What do you see? Is there light reflecting on it? What are the colors? Do you see your reflection? What do you see? Try and find something you have not seen before!

As artist we see and get it up and down in paper or down on canvas, or clay or in sound bites!

Master That What You Have

Students often say, yes but I am not a master painter, I can’t paint that, or compose this or display that… but being a master painter is not painting like the masters, but mastering that what you have.

For an artist to be interesting and for audiences to be interested, you need to have something to say. What do you have to say? What do you see and what do you want to say about it? As artists we need to slow down and learn to see beyond the surface of a subject.

An artist needs to master contemplation, reflection and interpretation. In other words we need to see, really see beyond the surface, cast our own vision on the subject and get it out and put it down...and make art!

Why should this matter? Why does art matter?

Artists are great problem solvers, they are great inventors. Artists have courageous hearts, disturbing and upsetting the old ways while illuminating new ways and casting new light.  Artists come up with new solutions, breaking open new paths to bring about a better understanding.

 Research has shown that a country or culture where artists and creativity are embraced and encouraged is a strong, healthy and innovative nation.

A nation that values art and nurtures artists, actively cultivating an atmosphere in which artist can thrive is in turn a thriving nation. I believe that our attitude towards the arts and creativity is a thermometer that measures the health of a nation/ of a culture.

 What is true for a nation is true for people.

 In order to encourage and nurture this art spirit…….a creative, inventive, self-expressive, healthy mind we need to start in our schools. Developing a healthy artist starts with our education.

Art and Education

 I recently heard that the university I attended wanted to close their art department because it was no longer relevant. The government no longer wanted to fund it and there were not enough teachers to keep the department going. I find this news terribly disturbing and so sad. When the art departments start closing a culture is in trouble.

 Unfortunately the first thing to go when education budgets are cut is often the art program. Focus and priority is given to the exact subject, language, science and maths.

 I agree that maths, science and languages are important but taking arts out of the school curriculum is more harmful than we can suspect.

Our classrooms should be an incubator for our imaginations, nurturing aspirations, sparking dreams and preparing young minds for what the world is expecting from them.

 When a teacher creates an environment in her/is classroom, a place where children are encouraged to think up the answers to the problems, or to express their own views instead of regurgitating the preselected answers, children take ownership. There is a realisation that they contribute and they become part of the solution instead of adding to the problem.

You put a child in a soap box and you ask: "How does it feel to sit in a soap box?  They may give you a puzzled look and say: "Its not a soap box, it’s a sports car, it’s a jet plane, it’s a spaceship."

Oke, I am humbled…My imagination needs a make-over and really has become to mature…I need to turn more of my soapboxes into spaceships.

Let’s make classrooms a place where creative thinking is promoted.

If there ever was a time that we needed solutions, it is today. Our climate change, elderly care, dwindling resources and overconsumption to name but a few. We need young minds to start to see what is really at hand, turn soapboxes into spaceships and create solutions.

The more we allow our children to make, discover and express in the classroom the more they will see themselves as makers of this world and in turn responsible makers of their own world.

 What if we had school filled with students that are confident enough to express their true selves, teachers courageous enough to encourage students to reach deep inside themselves and find solutions instead of just laying knowledge on them.  Give the students a framework, tools and skills to be able to think creatively in a powerful, strong and fluent way.

Better art programs and art education make better engineers, innovators, nurses, better mechanics.

If art is taught we don’t only develop creative thinkers but we embed a deep appreciation for art. One day when these young minds go into business, or become nurses, civil servants, politicians or parents, they would have learnt to see art, to value art and in turn buy art. They become our patrons.

I have had the privilege to be part of many creative projects, with children and adults. I have seen first hand the impact art and creativity can have not only in the young minds but everybody that is open enough, brave enough and daring enough to start expressing themselves.

It Is Never Too Late

Maybe your school never had a budget for an art program. Maybe you did not grow up in a creative environment. There is still time. It Is not too late. Today is the perfect time to start.

 Maybe you are way past school-going age but maybe you are parents of children or maybe you are an aunt or a grandparent. We all have young children in our lives. We need to encourage, stimulate and facilitate creative thinking. Take them to a museum, spend and afternoon painting with them or making music.

What do you need in order to take the next step in growing and developing your creativity?

 The Internet has changed the way we learn. There are many courses available for you to follow. There are online mentoring programs and master classes you can subscribe to.

 Find a class, find a mentor, find a place to learn and develop your skills.

We are all different and have different ways of learning. You may love learning from books or You Tube. Or you may love learning in a class or a workshop. Find the way that works for you.

I hope you are inspired to embrace your artist heart and even though you did not go to art school or had no art program or we're not surrounded my art, that it is never too late.

Or maybe you are an artist but the busyness of life has blown sand in your eyes and you have trouble to see why you should even bother to create anymore. I hope that this will help you see that what you do is important! What you make is relevant and that we are waiting for your creativity to remake our world.

 Art matters...Your art matters!

For more links, tips and resources you can surf over to the other resources on my website.

 Be inspired and have fun turning your soapboxes into  spaceships!


FREE RESOURCE

I have designed this special worksheet for you to download. The questions will help you reconnect with your creativity and help you to see like an artist. 

DOWNLOAD WORKSHEET HERE!


Links to Artists mentioned in this podcast

Miss Fourie (my art teacher at high school) 

Humphrey Bennett (artist and teacher - NL)

Da Vinci Initiative (skill based training for high school teachers)

The Dutch Art Academy - Marion de Jong (an online platform where you can learn solid foundations in painting and drawing)

Quotes mentioned

An art education in creativity lies in the sweet spot between the unstructured play and imitating models. The example’s gives the students a precedent to build on but it does not condition or constrain their choices.’

The Runaway Species - How Human Creativity Remakes the World Anthony Brandt & David Eagleman

 ‘In life we do anything to avoid anxiety but in the arts we must pursue it. In arts we have no guarantees. The lack of answers force us toward a healthier attitude and storming into unexplored territories.’                              Composer Morton Feldman

 

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