I love little kittens and I hate poison oak. Turns out, I ended up with more than cat scratches last weekend. Aidan—my son—and David, a friend, and I had just finished a long day working at our 12 acre organic lemon and avocado grove.
Shoveling tons of dirt into the back of my truck, chain-sawing railroad ties, and stacking retaining wall bricks, we were building an entertainment patio space for our grove artist getaways. What could have been a long hot day had been minimized by a cool, soothing breeze that drifted over the rolling country hills from the Pacific. And so, it was just a long day lifting heavy things with lunch, laughter and a few water breaks.
At the end of the day, after locking our chain-link gate, we drove down the narrow road that borders our property. We quickly came to a halt by a small blue car stopped in the middle of the road. Two Hispanic ladies stood outside the car, peering into the bushes.
Every year in California and across the nation, we see more and more cuts in art education in elementary schools. This is a deep and pervasive problem. As Calvin College art professor, Jo-Ann VanReeuwyk, states in her list of highly insightful reasons to save art education in elementary schools, “The arts teach problem-solving, risk-taking, creative thinking, collaborative thinking, innovative thinking. Indeed all of the higher level thinking skills.”
If you’re a parent, artist, or art educator interested in cultivating creativity in kids, I’d like to encourage you to read Jo-Ann’s 18 Reasons to Save Art Education in Elementary Schools, which she generously allowed me to share with you today. Even if you’re not an artist, you will find Jo-Ann’s points will expand your knowledge and appreciation for the arts. Why is arts education in school so important? Here’s why…
[I] think every parent likes the idea of developing creativity in their children. Who doesn’t want creative kids? The problem is many parents don’t always how. Creativity and innovation are admirable qualities in kids and adults alike, but if you were raised in a home where creativity wasn’t valued, developing creativity in your children or grandchildren can be a challenge. Two weeks ago in the first Question of the Week, several of you shared stories of being raised in homes where creativity wasn’t encouraged. I’d like to see that change, wouldn’t you?
(Click here to watch Janae’s Super-8 SLO video on Youtube)
As a parent, one of my goals it to cultivate creativity in my kid’s lives. The fun part is, you never know when their creativity is going to pop up. Just this past weekend, our family went on a little adventure to San Luis Obispo to visit our daughter, Ellie, who is a freshmen in the school of architecture. As we walked through the campus, my oldest daughter, Janae, shot clip after clip of video on her iPhone. Later that evening when the rest of us went back to our hotel, Janae stayed with Ellie in her dorm room to put together this fun Super-8-ish video. No one asked Janae to create the video, but we all enjoyed it. She put her creativity to work and we received a wonderful little gift to remember our adventure together. Read on…
[dc]L[/dc]ast month, I was walking in my garden and I had a bit of an epiphany: I am guilty of neglecting beauty. Before me were a whole bunch of beautiful, slender lilies. There they were growing and I had completely missed them. In the rush of life, I had forgotten the very things I find pleasure in: simple, beautiful elegance. (These lilies are in our living room…the most massive ones ever from my garden!)
Neglecting beauty is a sure-fire way to sail into the creative doldrums. All of creation shouts before us and we wonder why we’re in a creative slump? Perhaps we’re a bit distracted. I know I have plenty of good reasons and bad excuses to neglect beauty. To name a few…