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Occupy the art.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if our society valued creativity more? Students would get scholarships for their art instead of their ability to play a sport. People would flock to see them perform a symphony they created instead of seeing them face off against each other on the field.

When we support sports over arts, we are supporting aggression over creativity. We are saying with our stadiums and our sports scholarships that violence pays. We are saying that the jocks are the heroes and the artists are the zeros.

Now, we certainly need sports too. We need physical activity. We need movement. There are way too many kids and adults who are inactive and obese. They are way too many people with diseases that could have been prevented by being active. And there are many valuable lessons to be learned from team sports. People learn about discipline and how to work together. They learn about how each member of the team is important to the outcome.

But sports aren’t everything. We can encourage sports and the arts. In fact I think that everybody in school should learn both. Have the jocks learn how to paint or play a saxophone. Have the artists learn how to play tennis or swim.

Arts and sports need to both be offered as team and individual options. There is a lot to be learned in working together and also in shining on your own. Basketball and being a gymnast should be equal. Playing in a symphony and painting a picture should be equal.

People need to learn as many ways to express themselves as possible. Humans have a lot of pent up energy in them that needs to get out. That energy is physical, emotional, mental, psychic, spiritual. We have many different parts to our personalities that need to be expressed. Communication isn’t just with words.

Perhaps when we get to this point that I see, we won’t have any more school violence. We also won’t have anywhere near the levels of depression and anxiety that we currently do.

But let’s not wait for the schools to do it. We don’t have to wait for committees to study this and funding to be allocated and lesson plans to be created. Let’s just do it on our own. Let’s do this from the ground up. Let’s start at home.

Let’s start an arts revolution right where we are. It doesn’t have to cost a lot. Get some crayons and some paper. Buy a kazoo. Go to the dollar store or Goodwill or Big Lots and find inexpensive art supplies. Get a notebook and start writing. Make up a play. Sew a costume. Design a garden or a house.

It won’t look great at first. Nothing ever is. A child’s first steps are pretty wobbly. A first sketch is pretty wobbly too. Just keep doing it. The point isn’t the product. The point is the production. When you are making art, you are making yourself at the same time. The goal isn’t the painting or the sonata. The goal is the part of you that you found along the way.

This isn’t just for kids. Adults of all sorts will benefit too. I’m interested in all people learning to express themselves creatively. I’m a little more interested in getting kids to be exposed to the arts because it means that they will not be as self-conscious about it. They will learn that being creative is a normal part of being human and not an extra.

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