This month my mind is full of back-to-school hopefulness (and dread), apple-picking daydreams, and that Earth, Wind & Fire song. I’m also feeling a bit reflective – it was a year ago this month that I started The Arts Room, compelled by an overwhelming urge to DO SOMETHING to encourage the arts in our school system, and the belief that there was actually something tangible and proactive that a parent could do. Besides complain with friends over coffee. 😉
It was a roller-coaster year and I’ve learned a lot, not least of which is that I’ve still got a lot to learn (who would’ve thought!). Yet, for the sake of progress I’m trying to distill things down to a few Essential Truths:
- We are surrounded by art. I kind of had an inkling of this already when I started the blog, but once I began paying really close attention I was virtually hit over the head with it – here in Bristol and Warren we suffer from an embarrassment of riches when it comes to the arts!
- There’s no way I can keep up with it all myself. And I really thought I could, at the outset. As a result of Essential Truth #1, it definitely takes more than one person to keep track of all the arts happenings in our community. This is part of the reason I haven’t yet come up with a Community Arts Calendar I like – it’s not for lack of trying, it’s just that whenever I even come close to putting everything into a calendar format, the resulting mayhem is a visual nightmare! I haven’t given up, but I’ve let myself off the hook on this one.
- I sometimes get tired of the sound of my own voice. Shocker, I know. A neat side-effect of this blog is that since it’s channeled my passion for the arts in education (and life!) into a focused forum, my husband no longer has to suffer through as many of my, ahem, rather verbose monologues on the subject. However, since I’m now spending more time composing my thoughts, writing them down and editing, I’m hearing my own voice a lot more in my head and sometimes all I can think is … eeesh, tiresome!
Which brings me to my three Essential Goals for the coming year-
- Invite guest posters to The Arts Room. There are a lot of people in our community who are passionate about the arts, and I will welcome them to write about their passion here, as guests of the blog. There are also still too many people who think of the arts as nothing more than a bit of fluff, a nice hobby or a fun break during the school day. Hopefully with many varied and passionate voices The Arts Room can reach further and help more people realize that is a wholly erroneous and outdated view.
- Stop chasing down information. Gosh, I’m tired! I did this for the past year and the experience led me to finally realize Essential Truth #2. So this year, I will encourage members of the arts community to alert me to upcoming events going on in Bristol and Warren. I will find people who want to be part of this endeavor! I will stop chasing down information and set up systems so that the information comes to me. Sounds nice, doesn’t it? We’ll see.
- Take full advantage of the abundance of arts opportunities in our community. I feel like I’m doing an okay job of this – last year I took my youngest to see the Bristol Theatre Company’s production of Annie, I played with clay on a girls’ night out at Mudstone Studios, I enrolled my eldest in a cartooning workshop at Warren Art Spot, and I enjoyed a night out with my husband at an a cappella concert at St. Michael’s Church. Just to name a few. But I’d like to do a better job of spotlighting our local arts professionals, and I’d like to work harder on creating a go-to resource of local arts professionals for teachers who want to bring the arts into their classrooms. Luckily for me the Warren Arts Initiative has just released the results of their Creatives Survey, giving me a healthy starting point for that resource list!
Ah, is there anything as exhilarating as laying bare your goals for the upcoming year for all to see and hold you to? Perhaps the roller coaster’s first scary plummet…