Mark first wrote this in 2011 for the great organization Drawing On Earth, “Connecting Art and Creativity to Youth and Communities Around the World.
We agree and hope to learn from the groups and foundations that have come before us and everyone that is sharing and creating with children wherever they may be.
1) Art Generates a Love of Learning & Creativity. Art develops a willingness to explore what has not existed before. Art teaches risk taking, learning from one’s mistakes, and being open to other possibilities. Kids who are creative are also curious and passionate about knowing more.
2) Art Develops the Whole Brain. Art strengthens focus and increases attention, develops hand-eye coordination, requires practice and strategic thinking, and involves interacting with the material world through different tools and art mediums.
3) Art Prepares Kids for the Future. Creative, open-minded people are highly desired in all career paths. Art and creative education increases the future quality of the local and global community. Being creative is a life long skill and can be used in every day situations.
4) Art Teaches Problem Solving. Making art teaches that there is more than one solution to the same problem. Art challenges our beliefs and encourages open-ended thinking that creates an environment of questions rather than answers.
5) Art Supports Emotional Intelligence. Art supports the expression of complex feelings that help kids feel better about them selves and helps them understand others by “seeing” what they have expressed and created. Art supports personal meaning in life, discovering joy in one’s own self, often being surprised, and then eliciting it in others.
6) Art Builds Community. Art reaches across racial stereotypes, religious barriers, and socio-economical levels and prejudices. Seeing other culture’s creative expression allows everyone to be more connected and less isolated – “see how we are all related.” Art creates a sense of belonging.
7) Art Improves Holistic Health. Art builds self-esteem, increases motivation and student attendance, improves grades and communications, nurtures teamwork, and strengthens our relationship to the environment.
8) Art is Big Business. At the core of the multi-billion dollar film and video game industry are artists creating images and stories. Every commercial product is designed by artists from chairs to cars, space stations to iPods. A Van Gogh painting sold for 83 million dollars.
9) Art Awakens the Senses. Art opens the heart and mind to possibilities and fuels the imagination. Art is a process of learning to create ourselves and experience the world in new ways. Arts support the bigger picture view of life: beauty, symbols, spirituality, storytelling, it also helps us step out of time allowing one to be present in the moment. Art keeps the magic alive.
10) Art is Eternal. Creativity and self-expression has always been essential to our humanity. Our earliest creative expressions were recorded in petroglyphs, cave paintings, and ancient sculptures. One of the first things kids do is draw, paint, and use their imaginations to play.
They go on to say
• We believe that creativity is a natural renewable energy that when exercised and practiced during youth empowers one to experience an inner resource that is sustainable, long term, and available in all aspects of one’s life.
• We believe that kids who are nurtured creatively grow up ready and able to more effectively interact with the world, connect to the environment, integrate with technology, and understand the bigger picture.
• We believe that art is not just a pretty picture but also a way of being creative that will help to solve some of the world’s problems.
• We believe that creativity crosses race, economic, gender, and religious boundaries and is the glue that brings communities together that heals personal and collective wounds.
• We believe people connected to their creativity consume less, are more comfortable with what they have, are able to generate more of what they want and need, are better at taking care of themselves, are able to help others with their generosity.
• We believe that creativity continues to be important later in careers and business, partnership and marriage, community engagement, becoming an elder, and being curious about the end of ones life.
• We believe that a creative art education to be the best investment into the future that anyone can give and receive.