“ I gave them paint. All it takes. These politicians make things too complicated.”
Put a group of people into a room full of art supplies and watch what happens. People find ways to create things. They experiment with materials, forms, and limitations. They solve problems. They begin to talk to each other in different ways. They even bond. And, generally, they have fun.
Bob Bates is the founder of Inner City Arts, an organization to provide art -making projects to urban youth. Bates, in an interview with It Magazine believes the process of creating art leads to better self- confidence. Bates states, “Making art requires thinking and decisions: what color will I use, how can I make this stand up, how can I make this stronger, quieter, brighter, more bendable.” The self -confidence comes as they see the evidence of how they solved the problems in making their individual art.
A research study by Julia Kellman of the University of Illinois, Urbana, found that people facing life -threatening illness were able to begin opening up and talking about their illness as they participated in art making projects together. The group bonded in the process of making art, leading to a greater feeling of safety to expose personal feelings and talk about what they were experiencing.
Lisa Phillips, writes in The Artistic Edge, “Artists are constantly pushed to explore unchartered territory. The truly great ones are those that produce new and exciting work that has never before been created.” Artists are always, by their very nature, pushing for improvement, to do something better than the last creation. Each piece is a learning experience that leads to the next one. Creativity begets more creativity.
As artists know, art making brings about creativity, problem-solving and bonding. It could be a very child-like, simplistic answer for much bigger problems. Picasso is frequently quoted as having said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain one when we grow up.” Wouldn’t it be a hoot if all politicians were required to go into a room full of art supplies with orders to make art? What a lot of problems would then be solved! However, as the old saying goes, “If wishes were horses .….”
Kellman, J (2005). HIV, art and a journey toward healing, one man’s story. Journal of Aesthetic Education. 39(3), Fall 2005