As an artist, I’m all but too familiar with how imagination can positively impact lives. As a dance major at Arizona State University, I had the honor of working at a school that provided arts enriched education to some of Arizona's most underserved youth. For four years I watched dance transform lives. The movement became a common ground that allowed teacher and student to exchange ideas. Without words, we could heal, create, and empower.
After undergrad, I decided to continue my work with underserved youth. I joined Teach For America and headed home to work on Chicago's southside. After two years of treading water, I awoke to the realization that I was just surviving. Fueled by cheese-its and sleepless nights I realized I needed an arts-based intervention. My life became so focused on reading proficiency and state tests that I lost myself. I went back to the stage to reconnect.
Becoming a student and failing reawoke my creativity. I immediately began infusing play-based learning in my classroom and I was reminded why I started teaching. I watched as my students came alive and began mastering skills and teaching me far more than I could have expected.
Ask any artist why they create and you will find that art fulfills them. It answers a question, calms the unsettling, and supports their basic needs. However, many artists work alone or many artists lose sight of their talents because life gets in the way.
Why not use art as a catalyst for change? Why not unify communities around projects and shared experiences? Infuse what makes you fulfilled in an attempt to make others whole as well. Do art on purpose.
If you want to learn more about doing art on purpose, come to the Well Fed Artist workshop November 15th in the Dobson Lecture Hall at the Mesa Contemporary Art Museum!
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