Art And Critical Thinking
Approachability Of Ideas
Creative Problem Solving
What has art done for you? I honestly can’t imagine how my life might be if not for the influence that exposure to art has brought. I’ve learned about relationships, history, prejudice, compassion and been challenged to grow in so many ways. How many times have I left a theater with my mind going at warp speed to process what I just experienced. We as a species have excelled at learning as a result of our observations. How vital is it to our continued growth to promote art as a reflection of who we are and a vehicle that liberates us from the limitations of our personal experiences? Experiencing art is more than an opportunity to escape from the reality of our lives, it is a window into someone else’s experience that can confront us with ourselves, which if we choose can then lead us to greater understanding and compassion for each other’s experience. Creating art is a chance to contribute our voice to an ongoing dialogue of aspiration and growth.
Art gives us an avenue of access to ideas that we may be uncomfortable with or are outside of our circle of experience. Through her choice of silhouette as a medium of communication Kara Walker has allowed us to look at ideas, and experiences with a sense of distance that gives us permission to approach difficult and troubling subjects. When first seeing them I saw black and white cut out figures with historical references but as I looked I was confronted with the anger, pain and injustice of our past. William Shakespeare was a master a enticing us with something entertaining to watch and at the same time encouraging us with ideas that challenged us to see ourselves and the incongruity between our self perception and what our actions really say about us. Art as something that is once removed from our lives also has the ability let us reflect on who we are and how we think.
I never cease to be amazed at the endless variety of ways that we can communicate. Whether we intend to or not we demand that art challenges us. How many times are we going to see the same movie before if gets stale and uninteresting? In order to keep it fresh and intriguing the artist is always seeking to find new and different ways to communicate. Creative problem solving is something that mankind has historically held up as what has separated us from other animals. It is also an area that recent test result have indicated is getting lost in the shuffle. As the pace of life and the changes all around us come at a faster and faster pace, how important will it be for us to emulate the artist and come up with new ways of meeting the reality of modern life? Art exposure and education is a vital aid in giving us a leg up on the creative thinking that is becoming ever more crucial to our future.
Billy Joel In his “River Of Dreams” album had a great song “Shade of Grey. ” The gist of the song is that as he has grown throughout his life he has come to the realization that the certainty of black and white is an illusion.
“Now with the wisdom of years I try to reason things out
and the only people I fear are those who never have doubt.”
As we watch the paralysis that has engulfed our politics as a result of entrenched ideologies I can’t help but think we have a desperate need for an artistic person in Washington. An artist is a master at stimulating dialogue increasing understanding by getting us to think beyond our own limitations. When we go beyond ourselves we have the opportunity to develop compassion and communication. When I think about how limitless the room at the table is in regards to art it becomes apparent that we need a broader dialogue guiding us than that of conservative vs. liberal.
What has art done for me? It has freed me. Through exposure to different experiences than my own, some of which have been troubling, I have been stimulated to think in ways that I probably wouldn’t have otherwise. Life will always demand that we find a way ahead. Art with it’s inherent creativity is a vital component to our growth. It’s not just something pretty to look at , watch or listen to. It is an essential part of who we are. It has been here with us, as a species, from the earliest times. We have learned a lot about our history as a result of the art that was left behind. Art can also be a guiding force in our growth and continues success. I can’t imagine where any of us would be without it. We need to challenge the way we look at the world. We need to find creative solutions. We need to have compassion, understanding and communication. Art is not just entertainment it has been and needs to continue to be revered as essential to us as humans.
Joseph Osborne & Bill Schoenleber Social Curators