Everyone Can Be a Part of It!
3/3/2010 9:56 AM
At Pratt (my college)I was an art education major. There I learned to teach children that art making is about the process not the product. This was a lesson I didn't integrate into my own philosophy about the art I made until I got older. I spent many years trying to compete with other artists rather than embracing the story they were telling through their own art making. I am keenly aware of the reality that there are many artists who make more beautiful work than mine: many are more skilled, more talented and more capable. Does that mean that I and "the rest of us" shouldn't even bother, or do we have something to say too, but we say it differently?
I get rejected plenty when my art is judged against the art of others. That doesn't feel good but it's an opportunity for me to remind myself of why I make art in the first place: art making is an opportunity for me to share my story with others. I'm finding, more and more, that people want to know the story behind what I make and are less interested in whether or not they can look at "better art" instead. This is a movement that I seek to encourage.
I hope I've helped my own children, and the children I have taught, that they have something to say and it matters. I hope they understand the importance of letting judgments about what they make roll off their backs and seek (instead) a community of people who value their art and their message.
I want to help create environments for artists that are embracing and non-judgmental. I believe more people would make art in a safe place like that. So many people are afraid to begin to make something for fear of the judgment. Inside they have deep desire to express themselves but never do because the risk of rejection (internally and externally) is so great. This is a terrible thing. We need to draw others out into the realm of self expression by creating a space that is safe and reassuring. It's why I love the idea of The Healing Power of Art (Manhattan Arts International’s latest exhibition initiative). It points to other reasons for making art beyond the product. It points to one of the much more powerful points: making art, and looking at the art others make, can heal us, change us and give our story a voice. Everyone can be a part of that.
Maybe you want to be a part of it? Do you make art? Do you want to make art? Do you have another creative outlet that lets you tell your story? Please share with us. We want to enjoy what you create and benefit from what your creativity expresses. Let your “art” tell us your story.