As an independent, artsy type person it makes me crazy to hear that programs, or other essentials toward the development of creativity in America’s youth, get cut from public schools. Many of you know that aside from my love for writing, I also run a multi-faceted company called Chucka Stone Designs which is 100% artistic work and I would not be where I am today without the ability to try out different artistic endeavors through encouragement of teachers while I was growing up.
Math, English, Science, History -- yes these are the big subjects deemed most important by the school system as they provide a foundation of knowledge toward expansion of that information down the line. It is true that without at least a moderate and basic level of learning in these subjects it would be very difficult to function in daily society (2+2=4, house is a noun, H2O creates water, Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776). My concern is that without the addition of creative based subjects to a curriculum, such as Art or Music, there will be less and less distinction between children as they are not encouraged to express their individuality and interests openly.
So what can we do to ensure the Arts remain a supported and important part of the school curriculum across the nation so every child has a chance to decide if there is something of interest for them personally within that arena?
One of the strongest ways we can show support is to donate! Get in touch with your local school system and see if there is an organization or program set up which accepts donations in any form -- monetary, product or even time. Time can be one of the best donations so do not overlook this. Do you run your own successful business in an artistic capacity? Why not go and talk to students about it or better yet, schedule a demonstration for how to create one of what you do!
Another great way to show support is to purposefully become a patron of independent artists. Go out on a Friday night and listen to an unsigned band play and then pick up their disc after the show while you thank them for doing what they do. Get over to a site like Etsy and browse through the thousands of shops run by independent owners then pick up something completely unique for your Mom’s birthday gift. Pop into a local poetry reading, buy furniture hand crafted by the guy down the street, paint your own picture to hang on your living room wall -- the opportunities to show thanks for the many ways artists contribute to our culture and society are endless!
Why not sign a petition indicating your support of art as it would trickle down from the highest level? Something I came across recently while checking out Bushwalla’s tour schedule was he provided a link to an online petition encouraging President Barack Obama to create a Secretary of the Arts position in his cabinet. I felt this was a fantastic idea as many other nations have similar positions and we never have. The idea was started by Quincy Jones and I was signature number 235797. It was one small step but it felt good knowing I was doing even a little something to encourage arts remain a strong part of our country’s daily life. Please consider signing the Secretary of the Arts petition.
I will continue to create through words, paint and fabric on a daily basis as well as continue to support the creative endeavors of as many artists as possible. What do you do to show support for the arts? I want to hear about it so we can continue to learn from each other!