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Make-up Post from the week of Jan 29th-Feb 2

cds6's picture

Hi all, I’m posting some thoughts I had from the Jan 29th to Feb 2nd  week of readings(a while ago) as a make-up post from when I was out sick with the flu. But I recently went to the Makers Space CCW session and it brought me back to that week’s reading about the Creative Growth Art Center. It made me recall that the Creative Growth Art Center was built on the belief that art is a fundamental pillar of human expression and that as such, everyone should have the right to access these modes of expression. In being in the space today with the CCW artists, Jose, Paige, and Jenna, it was clear that each one had their own unique taste and style with their artwork – something that spoke directly to an aspect of their life or preferences. Their artwork was done in a liberating way that was refreshing and new to me. I have always struggled with art and been afraid of embracing it as something of my own. And I think it has something to do with the fact that I do not consider myself an “artistic” or “creative” person as someone who chose the hard sciences early in my life, rooted in the rigidity of scientific practices(labs, problem sets, lab reports). The production of art in this space felt more analogous to empowerment and expression rather than perfectionism and working to not mess up. And in this way, there was an intimate feeling of care and thoughtfulness that replaced my usual feelings of anxiety and apprehensiveness. It was a true act of taking care of one’s self by occupying an expressive space. It begs the questions as to why larger society has yet to integrate similar programs for all students, to give them access to a creative outlet as a form of human expression. Unlike an art class with structure and specific, confining assignments, it would be fascinating how this space could affect student development and growth. Support from educators at all levels and parents alike could potentially help harness the benefits of integrating these open artistic spaces in earlier education. Some of these include fostering self-expression, developing communication/collaboration skills, and appreciating diversity. After more thought and consideration, this would require a physical space and the (un)learning how people think about a “productive” student. In addition to the cultivation of the skills mentioned above, this grade-free and liberating space could help students separate their academic success from their self-worth and views of how “productive” or “successful” they were. The art and environment of care it provides offers another dimension to the student aside from the input of work in a certain class. 

And in recently attempting to reclaim artistic spaces as ones that I can be a part of, I really do feel a shift in my fulfillment in expressing myself and the pride I take in creating something that reflects a part of me.