A Crash Course on Creativity Part 1


Dear Laura,

On the eve of Thanksgiving, I want to give thanks to you my friend.  We have been continually challenging one another to discuss and create our art with clarity for over seven years.  I am grateful to have you in my cheerleading section.

As I was telling you on the phone about my recent experiences with Artists U (thank you South Carolina Arts Commission for funding this opportunity for artists!), I now clearly see that it is so important for artists to keep their voice in the conversation, and wanted to say a little something about this here on the blog.

It is a radical act to keep at this creative work. There is no certain path or CEO we can look to to say- that is how it works!  As Andrew Simonet said at this workshop,  if we lose an artist’s voice due to starvation/money, self defeating banter, other people’s opinion of your success, lack of resources, time, etc….. it is a loss to our culture.  It’s the artists who are questioning, interrogating, and picking apart and then putting back together our understanding of what this life is all about.  Is there another profession trying this?  I just picked up one of my husband’s books (he is a scientist and interested in education) entitled “inGenius: A Crash Course on Creativity” written by Tina Seelig.  I laughed and thought “yep, there is my husband trying to quantify something that is not quantifiable” like a scientist would.  Then I started reading it.  What she is saying here is that “creativity allows us to thrive in an ever changing world and unlocks a universe of possibilities”.

I feel this in my bones.  It is at the root of why I make art and teach.

It’s just not something I was ever told was a strength during all my schooling until graduate school. I didn’t believe it until graduate school (thank you Goddard!).  If I was not being told this, it is my bet that others were not either.

And guess what?  Now the world needs our creative types!

Those who exercise creativity… “instead of problems you see potential, instead of obstacles you see opportunities, and instead of challenges you see a chance to create breakthrough solutions” (Seelig).  This could be as simple as making a soup from scratch, guiding your child to solve their own problems, or massive sweeping change in your world.  Everything we do is an opportunity leverage what we know to stretch our imaginations (…Seelig said that too…I guess I have to read this book now).

I set off to write this post about my experience with Artists U, and how I learned that I have all the skills I need to make loads of money (hahaaa)…. and ended up with this.  I suppose my mind is on the big question of “so what?” with regards to making art.  Is art relevant?  Is it selfish to make art?  Is art only about the ego?  That’s all crap, because those who ask those questions don’t understand that the creative act is the gift of being human. To invent a solution to a problem that has never been solved before….now that is awesome sauce.

I am keeping this message front and center with my boys. I always want to encourage them to build in the sand like the picture above shows, which is not easy in this digital age. Parenting is a creative act.  Loving your family is a creative act (look how we navigate all the weirdos in our family! Wait, I might be that weirdo…).  Creating a delicious meal is a creative act, so go on and cook that turkey like you mean it!

At any rate, just know I got your back Laura.  I will always be that person in the stands with the handwritten sign, face paint, and team hat screaming at the top of my lungs for everyone to see your genius.

Phew!  Next time I want to write about the importance of partners and why competition is good for us.



ps- here is a little something to watch to convince all you skeptics….

Tina Seelig is the bomb!


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