My good friend, Kare Anderson, is a master of collaboration and building relationships. Over the past year, she really got me thinking about how I can bring my past experience collaborating and building teams with entrepreneurs into my art world. I already use some of it when I’m teaching or speaking about my art but I was looking for something that would challenge me further.
Lo and behold…be careful what you wish for Rebecca! I find myself the Creative Arts Program Coordinator at the Creative Science School in SE Portland. This is a constructivist, K-8 school with terrific spirit, a supportive community and stimulating environment. I was asked in September if I would spearhead an initiative to bring more art into the school and integrate it into the core curriculum. I am volunteering my time along with a host of other dedicated people to make this happen.
I can’t tell you how excited I am about this opportunity to join forces with Principle Jay and a cohort of talented, passionate parents and teachers…all in the name of bringing arts education to our children. This will be a whole other blog post but I am fierce about kids getting a fair and just arts education along with their reading, writing and arithmetic. To exclude the arts because it’s “not important, too expensive, not enough time, not enough space, no one’s interested” is ridiculous. I plan to prove that it can be done and that it’s necessary for our children’s health and wellbeing.
We’re just getting started and we really don’t know how it’s all going to work out but I can say with confidence that it’s cultivating collaboration, teamwork and communication that will help us build a program that is both sustainable and scalable.
We’ve identified that our program will integrate arts education into the core curriculum without compromising district teaching requirements. This means that the art will be woven into what is being studied because there isn’t time or space for a traditional “art class” per se. This works for me because research has shown that children who are exposed to the arts at least one hour per day enjoy increased academic performance, better grades, enhanced problem solving skills and the ability to cross-pollinate what they are learning across subjects.
I’ll be writing more about this project and my exploration into collaboration and art as our initiative grows. One area that I’m looking forward to is building camaraderie with the kids as we plant art in their daily school life. In the meantime…I encourage you to find ways that you can collaborate with others and build strong teams to achieve your goals!