Let's talk about pictures kids draw in school. Let's talk about finger-paintings kids do in pre-school, that get displayed on the regfrigerator. Let's talk about playing hop-scotch - painting those diagrams with chalk, in front of our houses, as kids. Let's talk about seeing beyond the rainbow - to a world that shimmers in the dim but beautiful colors of that rainbow - a world some of us see, and some of us don't. Let's talk about giving voice to our emotions - the love, laughter, happiness - the despair, loneliness, worry... we each feel at differing times in our lives.
Kids draw because it's their first means of communication. For some, it becomes a world of necessity - they draw because it's who they are. Kids do finger painting and stand proudly before us with their work - happy to see us display it on the refrigerator for neighbors, grandmas, and friends to see. Kids play hop-scotch between colored lines on the sidewalk... and then use the chalk to make other drawings, inspired by nothing more than a 'feeling' in their heart, spurring them on to create. Kids look at a rainbow and wonder what's at the end; what does the elf look like - is there really a pot of gold? Did Dorothy really go over the rainbow - was there a yellow brick road?
Creativity is the heart and soul of being human. Nurturing creativity is the responsibility of every Mom and Dad in the universe. But, it goes beyond that. Because the kids who are rewarded with love and attention, for their wonderful creations, whatever those may be, are the kids who grow up to be our leaders. They become architects and artists and business people and innovators. They recognize the power of art to accomplish the impossible. When we, as human beings, all participate in the nuturing of that new little artists in our midst, when we encourage kids to be artistic, we give them a chance to become ... themselves.
It's in understanding who they are and what they are about, that our children find peace and happiness in their lives. It's in looking beyond the pencilled drawing or the landscape of a painting or the words of a play - that worlds unseen and unknown become real. The seeing exists in our hearts. The feeling exists in our soul. The art becomes who we are and conveying it, sharing it, seeking to understand it, becomes our goal.
It begins when we are children. It blossoms, if nurtured properly, as we approach puberty, and it explodes when we become adults - if we have been taught to embrace it.
We cannot embrace our artistic self if museums are closed. We cannot bring innovation to life, if support for the performing arts is cut. We cannot give life to those unknown, unseen, but fully imagined worlds that live in our imaginations, if libraries are closed or denied funding and books become toys of the past.
What kind of world are we offering our children when we consider cutting education? Cutting art? Are we ready to deny the talents each of them was born with? Deny the opportunity to change the world with words, pictures, performances... everything that is human about being human?
I hope not. I hope we're all willing to sacrifice whatever it takes - that next latte, that new sweater, that extra pair of shoes, that piece of pie after dinner; I hope we will all look at the reality of what needs to be done, and do it.
Support the arts. Help a child become a master - of his or her fate, using the most powerful tool we as humans have access to: the ability to create art, innovate art and BE ART. Without it, we're... just empty shells.