A few years back, I realized that we often mean only two or three things when we talk to kids about art — certainly painting and drawing, perhaps sculpture, maybe music.
We mean “art-that’s-the-kind-the-art-teacher-teaches”. Which is both awesome and true, but also limited. What about photography? What about dance?
What about knitting or writing or acting or cooking?
When I wrote Think Big (Bloomsbury, 2012), that’s what I wanted to play with. I wanted to say to kids, “All of your creative ideas and experiences? Those are art!”
And the great thing about saying that to kids is, they respond with, “Okay, then, let’s do it, let’s make some!” whereas a grown-up audience might say, “Right, yes, those things are all art. But not for me. artists do art.”
As adults, we’ve learned that there aren’t limits on types or kinds of art, but we proceed to limit ourselves, our possibilities, our attempts. We tend to stop trying new forms of art and, when we do dabble, we’re self-deprecating about it.
Kids are a lot bolder and braver in this than we are.
|Courtesy of Liz Garton Scanlon; used with permission.|
During my school visits, I ask kids how many of them are writers, how many of them are artists, and you know how many raise their hands? Almost all of them!
I want that to continue, past kindergarten and second grade, past fifth grade and through middle school and on into high school. I would love to speak to an adult audience and see everyone raise their hands!
|Liz on ALA 2010|
Not because we necessarily need more paintings on the museum walls or performances in Carnegie Hall or even new five-star restaurants, but because we as people are really fed by our own creative expression.
Making art can energize us, can help us heal, can feel like play, can provide a way to process things, can bring us joy.
I hope that this book is just a teeny tiny playful reminder of that — who wouldn’t want to be part of that group of wily kids (and cat!) that Vanessa Newton’s illustrations brought to life? It’s just kind of a giddy rollick!
In the meantime, I’m going back to my desk.
With a big breath and a brave heart…