Keep the Scissors Near the Magazines

February 1, 2018

Hi, there! I'm the gal who painted the mural of the US Flag in Princeton, and I was asked to do todays post. After reading this, you might say I should stick to painting, but I said I would give this a shot.

 

When adult life has us stumped, I don't hear many people say, "shoulda made that house out of popsicle sticks when I was 10." But let's think through the benefits of art for a moment. Art provides an immediate emotional and intellectual outlet, but there's also got to be long term benefits too... right?

 

Before they're old enough to comprehend biology, chemistry and calculus, kids ought to be experimenting. Experimentation, especially through hands on projects, frustrates and challenges people to rise up and be problem solvers. While some children are placed on artistic pedestals and soar through art classes with easy A's... there are others who quietly continue treading their own paths. Their skills may not produce the most popular outcomes, but there's got to be a point to all this art.

 

Creativity doesn't come with clear instructions. Neither does being yourself. What steps could a guide book even include?!

 

Step 1: Create a Vision

Step 2: Develop a Method

Step 3: Explore the Method, and if need be Explore a New Vision.

 

Even these three steps begin with "create." So, how could solid long-term benefits emerge from something as vague as being creative? 

"Art has the role in education of helping children be more like themselves instead of more like everyone else." -Syndey Gurewitz Clemens

 

If we practice being different, and being COMFORTABLE with that... imagine how this would benefit our schools, businesses, and communities at large. Our nation would be full of practiced visionaries with the tenacity to make new things... do new things... consider greater outcomes. I don't need to spell out the countless applications of such qualities in a person. 

 

Adults, after all, are just old kids responding to greater consequences. Perhaps as practiced creative adults, we would graduate from making new things to creating helpful ones-questions, solutions, and responses to great consequences. Perhaps, people would know our offerings are ours simply because of the nature of the way they look, taste, harmonize, provide... etc. This would be your artistic style-for those of you wondering.

 

If at age 10, I was capable of building a house of popsicle sticks or designing a festival button with nothing more than crayons and some glitter...  what am I capable of now?  

 

My creativity lead me into a career as an actor, director, and artist-but it didn't have to. I thought long and hard about being a teacher. I doodled so much as a kid, my parents still call me Doodle at age 23. Without 20 years of poorly scribbling unidentifiable crap, I never would have developed or pursued the vision of a mural project in Princeton. 

 

This particular application of my creativity was well timed considering the much anticipated arrival of the half scale Vietnam War Memorial replica this July. 

 

It is exciting to witness empowered people, who know who they are, exploring original ideas. Seeing their success and pride gets me unstuck even on the toughest days of adult life. And based on the number of happy waves and honks I got while painting, the rest of you like witnessing it too. 

 

Keep the craft glue handy and the scissors near the magazines. The big, bold, beautiful, and ugly stuff is worth making in the long run. 

 

-Sylvia Michels

 

 

 

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