Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Valuable Teachers Motivate Creative Minds

Well, I will never forget this scene when I was still a teenaged girl. 
Me graduating from high school, Jack T. Franklin photo 

 Walking along Chelten Avenue near Germantown Avenue in Philadelphia, not too far from my school, Germantown High, I ran into Walter Lubar, who had briefly been my art teacher in public school until he was promoted out of teaching, a great loss for me. We chatted about what I was up to, as teachers do with students they like. We talked about me pursuing art in college. 

 A Proud Continuum exhibition in 2005 produced the Howard University catalog above (that features my work in the cover montage and inside, and on the website). Elizabeth Catlett, Alma Thomas,  David Driskell, Lou Stovall, Winnie Owens-Hart, Starmanda Bullock, Lois Mailou Jones and others also were in the exhibition.

Then he told me this: "you see well." I quickly responded, "Oh, no! I have been wearing glasses since I was very young".  He chuckled but explained that he meant I saw things in a special way, that I had insight, that I was able to translate visual images to paper or canvas in a meaningful way. Mr. Lubar said I see the way an artist sees things, that my observation skills were different from other people! 

That was a life-changing moment for me. He gave me an explanation for what I had been experiencing all my life. He explained why I often reacted to situations that others didn't notice, or care about, often seeing minutiae that others overlooked. My ideas were just next to the majority....but not in the center. I was not average. And when you are a student in high school that's really all you sort of want to be. 

But I was used to not fitting in. I was strange to my family too, who always said "Joyce is SO sensitive!". Or "Joyce and Mom are just alike!" So we were both sensitive? I didn't necessarily want to be like my mother!

Not every strange kid is an artist. But some are. Even if they are not going to be some kind of artist it is important to validate and develop creative tendencies in everyone. That strange, different kid who may live inside his or her head and doesn't march in lock-step with the others will respond and so will the straight and narrow who will grow up to become more creative no matter what careers they pursue.

Every person should be encouraged to find and explore a creative side. If one visual artist, actor, musician, writer, dancer, filmmaker, or designer  emerges we will all benefit as they show us our world in new and unexpected ways - as they see it!  Creativity is essential for scientists and engineers, too!

My son Kyle F. Anderson is a visual artist and has created a political-social commentary comic book called Cat-for-a-Dick Man.
He recently illustrated a children's book called Toos Goes Uptown

My other son Scott Anderson is a computer Game Developer, more scientist/engineer but also creative. 

1 comment:

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