Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Creative Life

On the weekend, gentle readers, your MatchGirl was listening to Studio 360 on WNYC. Part of the program was about arts funding in public schools (check it out here). Or, more to the point, if a turnaround arts initiative could save schools.

Your MatchGirl only knows what this piece told her about the initiative. But she knows this. Art saves students. And that will be what saves schools.

When your MatchGirl was a kid, she went to several schools. Being the shy, bookish girl before that was a hip thing to be, it wasn't easy to make new friends. But the art room was always a place of solace.

I never would be the smartest kid in class. I would never be the prettiest and I most certainly could never have been, no matter how I longed for it, the most popular. But I could go into the art classroom and feel smart and talented and like I could do anything that I wanted to. I could be accomplished. And I could feel admired.

That was just the self-esteem part of things.

Having the opportunity to participate in arts programs also made me aware that there is seldom one right answer. It made it clear that one could use creativity to arrive at the truth. 

I was never one who did well on standardized tests, probably because of this. My world was always in shades of grey. There was always something that could be the right answer, if only I knew more of the puzzle pieces. 

The thing is, dear readers, when we get out of the classroom and into the real world, it's not so black and white as bubbles filled in with a Number 2 pencil, either. We need creative thinking to make our way in the world - in personal relationships, in the work place, too. Think where we would be without creative thinking. 

And I don't mean think where we would be without the painters and the poets and the composers. Creative thinking is what drives the greatest innovations in our world. Engineers, scientists, mathematicians ... all of these disciplines rely on people who can think outside of previously drawn lines to come to new discovery. 

And they can't land on these discoveries if they've never been taught to wrap their head around problems from a different perspective.

Your MatchGirl, for one, hopes that this initiative proves its worth. And that expands to other schools. She hopes that the school system realizes how many children "No Child Left Behind" is truly failing. 

Who knows, a little creative thinking might help ...

Image: Life

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