2014-09-17 / Columns

Why NOT Art?

Find Time To Do Something Creative

“The success of my family’s business depends on finding and cultivating a creative and innovative workforce. I have witnessed firsthand the power of the arts in building these business skills. When we participate personally in the arts, we strengthen our ‘creativity muscles,’ which makes us not just a better ceramicist or chorus member, but a more creative worker – better able to identify challenges and innovative business solutions. This is one reason why the arts remain an important part of my personal and corporate philanthropy.” – Christopher Forbes, Vice Chairman, Forbes, Inc.

You don’t have to be a gifted musical genius, the lead dancer in a troupe, write a best-selling book or be the next Picasso. Simply making the time to turn off the electronics, tune out the world and immerse yourself in any creative endeavor for even a few minutes can completely change your world. You begin to stop looking at the world around you and actually see the beauty and complexity that surround you. Remember looking for animals and other things in the clouds as a child? Do you know that there are “people” and “creatures” in the trees, that cars have “faces” – some friendly, some silly, some unhappy? You stop hearing the jingles from commercials and become aware of the beauty of the sounds that exist naturally. Were you aware that even the wind has different “voices” depending on the weather and the seasons? Once you begin to tap into that creative part of yourself, the world and everything and everyone in it becomes a completely different place.

“Oh, I just don’t have time” is usually the main complaint. It doesn’t take a lot of time. Just a few minutes a day or an hour or two once a week is all it takes to begin to explore the creative part of you that exists in everyone.

If you aren’t a “joiner,” you don’t have to belong to the Art Guild or any other organization to explore your creativity. There are programs on public television and on YouTube that offer incredible and simple instruction. Most creative folk do discover that it is beneficial to spend time with others, to share techniques and failures as well as successes.

You are never too young or too old to find the time to do something creative. Grandma Moses didn’t begin to paint until she was in her 80’s. Even the youngest babies are soothed with music. The opportunities here in Owen County to begin to be involved in some creative endeavor are almost unlimited. You only need to begin to look.

To those who say “I can’t draw a straight line” I say “good, if you drew straight lines you would be a draftsman, if you can’t, then you are an artist.” For those who don’t think they can make music, I say, “come on over, you just haven’t met the right instrument yet.” Dance is an art and excellent exercise – especially for those of us who are older and not necessarily light on their feet. The Owen County Heritage & Culture Center offers a weaving and spinning group. Just pick something to be interested in and start looking for instruction. And don’t forget the kids.

“The biggest study into arts education in secondary school ever undertaken, Arts Education in Secondary Schools: Effects and Effectiveness*, found that pupils studying art, music, drama and dance accrued heightened enjoyment and fulfilment, an increase in skill and knowledge, advances in personal and social development, development of creativity and thinking skills and the enrichment of communication and expressive skills. As one drama teacher put it: “It is another dimension to their lives, which isn’t just a factual, mechanical dimension. It is something that is a life inside their head; it’s an imaginative life; a creative life.” – Lyn Gardner, The Guardian, Monday, October 9, 2000.

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Owen County Art Guild volunteers offer free classes and instruction in all of the arts. Stop in and pick up a current calendar and a list of the programs and the times they are available. The Guild is located at 199 West Cooper Street in Spencer and is open Mondays and Tuesdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m., Thursdays from 3:00 to 9:00 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

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