I have been involved in theatre and the arts so long that one of my oldest memories is losing my first tooth at a summer theatre camp, so let’s say four or five. Throughout my 18 years, I have seen how important the arts are, I have seen how they benefit me, my age group, and all students involved in these programs within public education. I have seen how paramount it is that we advocate for arts funding and fight to raise the priority level of arts in the mind of the public and our governments: from local school boards cutting arts programs, to the federal government nixing grant programs for arts endowment.
Individuals who lobby and support the arts, see that the fight for the arts is for the benefit of the public. We see arts education as a key element to being better, being more active members in our communities, and well-rounded people. We see the overwhelming benefits art programs bring to students and schools. We know individuals can work together to ensure policies and programs such as the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District are guaranteed to children and families.
Through my active 13 years in the arts community, I can speak to these values, these lessons that the arts share with students. I am the thriving person I am today because of the arts. The arts have taught me about myself. They gave me a platform to be myself. Being gay, I know the arts community as a home, a place where I know it is okay to be me. I have thrived because I know that my community of artists shares the belief of acceptance.
As artists, we are often put in a seemingly precarious position of needing to justify our life’s work, and its purpose. Artists often have to justify their profession in a way that neurosurgeons, for example, don’t. We never hear of neurosurgeons being asked to explain the massive expense of their equipment because it so clearly saves lives.
Of course, on the other hand, the national neurosurgery awards are not televised for the world to see, and, for better or worse, naval captains who perform acts of bravery do not capture the flashing gaze of the paparazzi.
But the point is that we, as artists, educators, aesthetes, and supporters feel forced to justify our artistic worldview and activity. And we often do so through the language of spending and revenue, through market capitalism and its brethren. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is not the most critical or powerful tool that we have.
I have walked through the halls of my school for three years now and I’ve noticed two profound things.
The first, the debilitating mundanity that permeates the air and the second, the biting, defeated stares of students as they trudge from class to class. Papers rustle, pencils scratch, and then 50 minutes later, a droning bell tolls and students cascade back into the grey hallways. After years of observation and reflection, only one thing is on my mind as I watch the swells of students and teachers; Why on Earth must public education be so barren of joy, art, and creativity, and how can we resolve this egregious flaw in development that we have imposed upon our students?
It’s always a good time to find new ways to boost your self-esteem. Whether it’s for you, your significant other, children, family, friends or your furry ones, we all need a little self-esteem love this time of year. Because like the old adage says “you can’t love someone else until you love and accept yourself.”
It has also been proven that art-related activities boost self-esteem. Who can say no to that? So here are a few art activities to give you that extra pep in your step this month.
There are obvious reasons. I love their enthusiasm as they do a really hard and really important job. I love that they’re invariably easy to talk to, and funny. But there’s a bigger reason that I love theatre teachers, and to explain it I’m going to talk about a play that I wrote a long time ago.
The common saying, “A picture is worth a thousand words,” asserts that a simple image of an idea can more effectively describe it than the written word.
For many students, reading about history and memorizing facts and timelines isn’t enough to fully grasp the effect these events still have today. I have discovered through my 10 years of museum experience that research, literature, and primary sources really do go hand-in-hand with interpreting images. Speaking through the lens of the Western American art collection with which I work, I will share a few examples of historic paintings. Each painting has a unique story to tell, and each can really speak volumes about what has happened throughout history.
Have you ever wondered ‘how’ I do what I do? Although not the same every time, my technical process of the printing and cutting stays consistent. Allow me to share.
I have a library of images that is ever growing. When I decide on a series I choose my best photographs with the most interesting angles, brightest colors and strongest contrast. For ease of understanding, the images below are examples from my most current series, which was installed in October, Timeless Denver architecture and landmarks, with splashes of the west!
Thomas Hardy stated, “Time changes everything, except something within us that is always surprised by change.” With the passing of another year at Think 360 Arts, change has certainly been in the air. We have effectively increased programming to reach 9,000 more students than last year, and we continue to impact thousands of teachers and teaching artists through guided professional development. Our focus is on our mission to lead Colorado in cultivating and sustaining the arts as essential to all learning through creative experiences for students and teachers, while striving towards our vision of a community that embraces the arts as a fundamental tool to enhance learning and upholding our values of collaboration, equity and access, diversity, creativity, quality and fun in all we do.
Dance can inspire people in many different ways. I have been inspired by dance since I was two years old. I love how a single note and a corresponding dance step can take you to a different world. That’s what dance was for me, especially when I was diagnosed with psoriasis in high school.