I have had this tendency to shuffle art and creative time into the corner. Even as I recognize how much art fills me up, it still sometimes sinks to the end of the list. Maybe it is the gremlins that say how it is more important to do the “work” work things first, or maybe it is the perspective that because art feels so good, it must be self-indulgent.
But this I know: expression through art feels great. I am personally grateful for the research of Brene Brown which says that if we want to make meaning, we need to make art. Popular opinion and medical research is finally showing up to speak about the benefits of the arts on mental health, too.
Thinking about art and Canadian Mental Health Week, my mind automatically went to my art teacher, Linda Lovisa, and not only the creativity that she cultivates, but also the community, connection and kindness that is fostered in her studio. Regarding creativity, Linda is clear, “Everyone has it, it is just a matter of exploring it…And it doesn’t matter what age you are.”
[Students are] proud of themselves and their accomplishments…they have this confidence that they didn’t have when they started. They start to see the world differently, and notice things that they didn’t before: shapes of clouds, shapes of flowers, the light cast and how the shadows look, which is always something that they took for granted. They are quite joyful when they see it and it is the first thing that they talk about when they come into the class. How the clouds looked! That sunset last night! They really learn to see things differently.
For the sake of continuing to see the world differently, we need to make space in our lives for art. For connection, meaning and contribution, we need to create.
And for the love of fun and colour and joy and to celebrate Canadian Mental Health Week, take some time to get your art on this weekend.