|Picture from Luther College Photo Bureau|
I think the arts have captured my life not only due to their soft power, but their ability to communicate not only through centuries, but cultures and ages, and that all humans can and do participate.
When I was a student in school - school sucked. It was hard and I spent much of my time feeling stupid. The more classes I took in art the more I felt I was breathing fresh air. As an art teacher in an elementary school I can tell you that my classroom is probably one of the few places that learning disabilities have no hold. In my room it does not matter if you can read, if you understand math, if your letters and numbers move around when you try and read them. In my room you get to be you and nothing is in the way. Art is a breath of fresh air.
I think perhaps for me - arts have captured my life not only because the unique communication if provides - but it gave me a home. I made all A's and B's (okay a couple of C's) in school, but it wasn't without tears of anger and frustration -- but the arts make sense to me. It was the first time I understood without having to climb through mental swamps and mountains.
I enjoy the unique beauty of art though I may not like the subject or how it's presented - but appreciating is different than liking. For example, most rap songs I don't enjoy - but I respect how and where they came from and there are a few that have a beat that pulls me in. I do not like all abstract art, but there are pieces I could stand and stare at all day.
I walk into my classroom filled with bright colors, piles of projects and paper, the smell of paint and know that there will be students that come to my room and this is the only place they will feel success - the only place they will feel confident - the only place they will raise their hand - the only place they will take chances - something unique to art. I hope to have a fraction of the passion my high school humanities teacher showed to me - and pass that onto the students in my room.
The arts are needed. They are needed in every child and adult life. The problem solving, critical thinking - being apart of a community where thinking is encouraged and new ideas are grown.