Letter from the Executive Director
I am fascinated by the comments children make when their hands are busy creating art. I truly enjoy the opportunity to watch and listen, gaining insight into their individual perspectives. During a program last year, 8 year-old Melanie had enjoyed the jungle collage project immensely and was quite satisfied with her result. Her comment, “I always thought that art was only a picture”, seemed rather unremarkable at first, but later, it really had me thinking. As exposure to art programs in public schools decline in response to increased pressure to perform in math and science, where will kids learn about art? The skills, the adventure, the joy of creative exploration;
who will teach this valuable part of learning? Even cursive writing is being eliminated from public school curriculums. How sad.
This, for me, begs the question, what if we limit art, or what if we eliminate it altogether? Art and creativity – just take it all away…..
In the spirit of Francis P Church’s 1897 New York Sun penned response to 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon regarding the existence of Santa Claus, this is my response to Melanie.
Creativity, in all it’s forms, exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! How dreary would be the world if there were no Creativity! It would be as dreary as if there were no Melanies.
No Creativity, there might as well not be any art then, no music or story to relate our existence. We would have no imagination, no tool to express vision or invention. How would we express empathy, spirit, meaning? How would we share our joys and dreams, sadness and pain? How could we cope? How could we heal? How would we grow if all artistic sources of communal connection were vanished from our senses?
Thankfully, Melanie, Creativity does exist. In all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. Art lives and lives forever, and will continue to make glad the heart of humanity.
A comprehensive art program that combines creative activity with positive connection allows children to explore art in all its forms and dimensions. It is my great desire to develop the Power of Art for Melanie and kids like her to inspire imagination and share with others their important ideas and feelings.
Read Church’s 1897 New York Sun editorial response: http://www.nydailynews.com/opinion/yes-virginia-article-1.1556978#ixzz35r28u35E