Wherefore Thou, Art?

by MichaelColemire on February 24, 2011 · 3 comments

With all the cutbacks, along with the drive for high math and science test scores that our schools and government are pushing, are children getting the exposure to the arts that they desperately need? I do not believe so. My way of thinking is that not everyone is cut out to be the next Marie Curie, Bill Gates or Stephen Hawking; some of us were born to be the next Van Gogh, Lady Gaga or Maya Angelou! Why are we pushing kids in school to excel in math and science at the expense of the “core curriculum” of art, music and most importantly, creativity? Different minds work differently and learn differently, so why would this exposure to the arts that we need to grow as individuals and to develop our self-expression be taken from our schools?

Even for those that do not consider themselves artists and will never in adult life pick up a brush, chisel or any other tools commonly used by artists, need art. We, as humans, are creative by nature and it seems that creativity is being driven out of our public school systems. Those that do not know how to think in a creative manner are not very good at solving problems.

Do you see where I am going with this?

Art is needed for more than just pretty things, good music and great literature. People need to be able to think in a creative manner to solve problems of society, come up with new inventions, finally figure out the “Theory of Everything,” create and market new products and if nothing else, to be able to decorate their living space in a way that pleases their senses. I might go as far as to say that without the arts and their inherent creativity, there would be no math or science.

I cannot fix our schools by myself and I won’t even begin to try, but I was talking to a friend and fellow artist, Ken Swinson, who is doing his part to give art to the community. He is currently offering free art lessons once a month and has other thoughts and ideas to get the community involved in art. We spoke of the fact that I was a professional screen printer and that he is currently doing wood block prints (which is a form of printing before screening) and also some primitive screen printings of his art pieces. An idea he has to demonstrate how printing works is to have a workshop set up so people can try it themselves – they can bring an article of clothing and print a design on it. Not only are they learning a little about an art form but they are re-purposing old clothes into personalized, designer clothes (Cool idea Ken).

I am going to help with that project and I am also taking his lead and thinking of a way to introduce kids to carving and sculpting. I have some ideas and am putting together a curriculum of how I want to proceed with this. I will post more as this develops but for now I have a challenge for you. I would like to see artists and craftspeople across the nation following this lead and introducing our kids to the arts. It doesn’t even have to be on a large scale to be huge. If we all mentor just one kid that has an interest, we could seriously change some lives.

Do what you can to help with this cause and come back here to post your progress as a comment and read the progress of other artists. It can be fun to see how this evolves. Also, if you have ideas of  fun projects you would like to share, please feel free to comment on those as well.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sonja Capehart February 26, 2011 at 4:16 PM

Thank you Michael for bringing to our attention that what many of us have feared for years is now happening. It’s a travesty that there are no music and art departments in many High Schools. It makes me so sad to know that so many kids won’t get to further their quest for music, or art classes, or choirs. But your blog has definitely given me hope!! The highlight of my day. I think what you and Ken Swinson are doing is such a wonderful and thoughtful thing to do. Giving to others of your talents!! Civing them a chance to learn from you and do what they love. WOW! I wish you both all the success in the world.

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2 Ken Swinson February 28, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Well said…such a great article! I’m looking forward to our screen print/recycling activity, thanks for the help!

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3 Steve Hulse June 11, 2011 at 1:58 PM

I so agree with what you said, Michael, “without the arts and their inherent creativity, there would be no math or science.” And perhaps no “us,” either. Fine ideas for arts education, and I’m hoping that your friends are checking out your incredible art work… unique and beautiful. I know, I have a painting of yours hanging on my wall in Montana. Best of luck with all of it, my friend.
Steve

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