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In the nude – a case for arts education



My field of work so far has been mostly various shapes and forms of arts education. Music education, youth empowerment through arts, talent development in the arts. I enrolled in this business in 1999 and have written and read more funding applications than I care for.

The current Big Question seems to be: why do we do this? This is always a good question to ask about anything we do but recently the answers tend to be political, more than anything else. We do arts education because it is good for our brains. We do it because we need to protect our cultural heritage. (Against whom?) We do it because it is good for our societies when we can make art together and marvel at our joined efforts in a warm haze of social cohesion.

To me, art education is important because of this:Read More »

Just. One. Book.

A friend put me on this trail the other day and I think it’s a worthy cause. It’s not the only worthy cause around but it’s worthy all the same. The address is listed in the post. Good luck!

Throwing Chanclas

Just. One. Book.

I live in a town of 1200 people in the Northern Sierra Nevada –where it meets the Cascade Range near Mt. Lassen National Park and about two hours drive northwest of Reno, NV.  Two hundred of that population is students. Over the years as the population dwindled after mines closed, then mills–nothing except tourism and retirement have emerged as ‘industries.’ Many businesses have closed down and with it many things we take for granted—like libraries.

The local junior/senior high school has not been able to purchase new books since the 90s. Some of the “check outs” for old books are in the 1980s. There are no books by people of color in the library. Hardly any books by women are in the few book cases except your standard Austen and Lee. It’s an uninviting place. There hasn’t been a librarian for nearly a decade. And volunteers weren’t allowed. The…

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Cast-off Monday

This morning I forgot my keys as I stepped out of the house to get the minions to school. I kissed the husband goodbye, adjusted Lisa’s backpack and pressed the button for the elevator. It wasn’t until the cashier at the shop asked me for my discount card that I realised that the keys I had jangled in my pocket as I left the house, to ensure that I had them, were not my house keys but for my bike. My Fairphone was lying on the kitchen counter, charging the new battery because the old one had failed to load the night before. No way to reach the husband, or mother, or friend across the street – for I knew she would be working – I plodded homewards. With my bike keys in hand in my pocket I realised that I could bike to the husband’s work (about 30 mins), get his keys to gain access to mine, and then eventually bike back to him again to give his keys back because I had to catch a train and wouldn’t be back before he got home. All while I had a ton of things still left to do before the train left. While I was thus prodding my brain to come up with alternative solutions, and decided to give my friend’s house a try anyway, I spotted her biking down the street at high speed. My saviour! She stopped, luckily because she was in a hurry, and handed me her house keys so I could fetch mine. She dropped by later on to pick them up again, her own and my spare set. And this, kids, is how a minor disaster can turn a frown upside down.

Have a good week everyone!

Back to the drawing board

It has recently occurred to me that I am a different person from who I thought I was. Let me elaborate, please, for I am not schizophrenic or otherwise mentally ill. I am speaking only from my own personal experience with myself. You see, I always thought of myself as a writing sort of person. A person to whom words and language were the epitome of human understanding. A person, in fact, who was most comfortable and proficient with words to tackle everyday life and existence. Codswallop! Although I do have a certain knack for putting one word after the other in an appealing way, in two languages so far, I have found that what really makes the world a clearer, more understandable place, is visual representation. In other words: I want pictures. I have an idea for something and the first thing I do is sketch it out – with words for meaning or pictograms. I make little doodles for my daughters to hang on the bathroom wall to remind them that wipe-FLUSH-pants-wash-hands is a good way to get a handle on personal hygiene. Heck, I even take my sketchbook with me to places and attempt to draw what I see and everything I hear falls into place as well. Never too old to meet a new old friend.

Things I forget and then remember that I forget them

To read Make good art regularly.

Witches. And headology.

Shoes are for outside. Take them off inside.

Friends are good for my health and wellbeing.

It is okay if someone doesn’t like me. (And not necessarily my fault.)

To apply the basic principles of this article.

You can always play that something is a job and that will make it okay somehow.

There is no need to explain myself.

I need to take the washing out of the dryer. (This is one that I always forget, then remember, then forget again, only to remember again the next day. Seriously, I need a full-time maid. Or a helpful friend who will just knock on the door and remind me, and then go away again, like a good friend.)

Another morsel of wisdom

(stopped numbering them, too much work)

When life hands you lemons… it’s life, not a fruit stand. You don’t get lemons, you moron.

One word of advice: when you set off to distribute random words of wisdom, don’t post them 5 at a time, daily. That was a mistake.

Okay here is one more for today: When you’re stuck, learn something new.

Well, there it is. Good good, move along!