Tag Archives: creativity

Cue the cheers and confetti!

Happy New Year!  Have you noticed any thoughts of possible resolutions drifting through your mind these days?  Personally, I dislike resolutions … they seem to come pre-packaged with the cynical threat of failure.  I prefer the anticipation of embracing new ideas, trying new things, and nurturing new habits.  These seem somehow friendlier and more approachable.  And so, may I humbly submit for your consideration this friendly and (perhaps) new habit for 2014:  Found-Object Doodling!

I saw this, a couple of days ago, on the inkygirl blog by children’s book writer & illustrator Debbie Ridpath Ohi, and I wanted to share it with you:

A Portrait in Ink and Parsley
A Portrait in Ink and Parsley

“Found Object Doodles (a.k.a. Sometimes It’s Okay To Play With Your Food Before Eating It)”  by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Ah!  Inspiring in the best sense of the word, because this is something everyone can do!  Click on the photo above, or the article link, to read (and see) more.  Doodling will warm-up your creative muscles, and there’s no pressure to “make it perfect”.  It’ll bring a smile to your face and to those around you.  It contributes more art to the world and reminds us that art is all around us.  And all it takes to get started is a Sharpie in your pocket.


Listening to the Call

We all have art that calls to us.

If we listen to the call, we become performers, or makers, or active appreciators.  We spend time on our art, because all the arts require time … but when we’re spending time with the art that calls to us, when we’re in our Element, as Sir Ken Robinson calls it, the time seems to pass in an instant.

time flies when you’re having fun…

But no one’s life proceeds in a straight, unchanging line, and some of us may choose to tuck our art away.  Perhaps we are focusing on the demands of a young career, or maybe we are devoted to the priorities of raising our young children.  And there are only twenty-four hours in a day … so we tuck our art away for a while.  And we’re okay with that – well, mostly!  On our good days. 😉

Thank goodness, it doesn’t go away.  The arts are at the core of our humanity; our need for self-expression, for creativity, for connection.  And if we’re lucky or smart or brave enough, we can remember where we tucked it away and bring it out again, or maybe discover something new, when the path of our life turns and we can again spend time on our art.

Nina MurphyFor Bristol resident Nina Murphy, that art is the theatre.  A long-time supporter of public schools and an advocate for arts in education, Nina will be playing Marmee in a local production of “Little Women” running the first weekend in May.  This marks her return to the stage after a number of years, and she is buzzing with nervous excitement about her opening night this Friday.

The eldest of six children, Nina is part of an accomplished creative family.  Her family has always placed high value on the arts; growing up, she remembers her family was always an “arts family”, in the same way that some families are “hockey families” or “soccer families”.  She was an active member of her high school’s theatre company, and went on to double-major in Theatre and English at Boston College.  And like most of us, her life has not followed a straight path – she worked for the Massachusetts State Film Council for a while, then got into media sales for various magazines and news outlets; she got married, and acted in a play or two, and lived in Hawaii for a time; she became a mother and focused her time on raising her young children, and she worked alongside her husband on an entreprenurial food venture you may have heard of, Wicked Natural.

Then came a moment when she had a chance to breathe, and wonder what she’d like to do next – and a friend mentioned her acting.  It was one of those moments when you’re so grateful for the friend who can point out what’s right there in front of you, so close you didn’t see it.  She had the time to spend on her art!  And it was a serendipitous moment.  When Nina googled “community theatre rhode island” just to see what would come up, she learned there was an audition that very weekend for an upcoming production of “Little Women” – and without overthinking it, she leaped in.

It wasn’t until after Nina had landed the role of Marmee that she learned the production was the senior project of an ambitious Tiverton High School student named Carrie Monroe.  Ms. Monroe has relied on her lifelong passion for theatre, and the support of her mentor and her local community, to pull off this impressive project.  As director, she is poised to see it all come to life this weekend, May 3rd, 4th & 5th at the Little Compton Community Center.

read more about Carrie Monroe’s production in The Bay magazine.

For Nina, the fact that she can contribute her talent to the effort to bring this student’s directorial vision to life gives the experience a wonderful added layer of meaning.  She’s been moved by the support of her husband and her two children.  She’s thrilled to get to exercise her ‘theatre-muscles’ again.  And she’s glad to have worked with a mix of adults and young people, glad for the chance to learn from each other, to grow.  But mostly, she’s happy she did it, she got back to her art.

“It’s been great to revisit something that’s always given me such pleasure, and that’s creating a character.” -Nina Murphy

Break a leg, Nina!

Catch a performance of “Little Women” this weekend, on Friday, May 3rd and Saturday, May 4th at 7pm, and on Sunday, May 5th at 2pm, at the Little Compton Community Center, located at the Commons in Little Compton, RI.  Tickets are $10 and are available at the door; the production is a fundraiser for autism awarenessClick here for directions.


Baby Uh-Oh

I’ll admit, I am concerned about the generation of iBabies.  Are you?  Someday (on my long list of somedays) I’ll write a post about this, but for today, here’s something to get you thinking

“One of the issues with “online learning” is the ever-growing abundance of hyperlinks on webpages.  Sites are encouraged, in fact, to fill their text with external links as it raises their search engine indices.  However, the convention of linking diverse sources disrupts the temporal linearity of any textual thought.  Each link serves as its own digression to another topic, and so the wholeness of an otherwise cogent text becomes fundamentally fragmented.  Replete with blue underlined phrases, Wikipedia is so successful because of its relatively concise presentation of a general topic, with plenty of opportunities (links) for tangential discovery.  However, research confirms that, although web-based learning increases students’ ability to “multitask,” it diminishes their capacity to think abstractly and creatively.”

You can read the full text by clicking here (no irony intended).

Craving Creativity

I know my kids wish their classes involved more creativity.  And so do I!

So, here’s a short video of a TEDx talk given in 2011 by a man named Mark Slavkin, on a topic I find interesting (to put it mildly), the transformation of education via creativity:

In this talk Mr. Slavkin mentions a creativity index for schools, being designed and developed in Massachusetts.  Anyone know more about this?  There was a bit of commentary in the news and on blogs about a year ago … some that even mentioned Rhode Island was starting a conversation about doing something similar … what’s the latest news on that front, I wonder?

How do you think our local schools are doing in providing our children with opportunities for creativity?

Family Favorites for ART Night

Gather the family and hop on the trolley for a night on the town!  ART Night has planned a marvelous finale to an outstanding first year, this Thursday, November 29th, from 5pm ’til 9pm (ish!).  What began back in March, as a small but ambitious new artful thing-to-do in Bristol & Warren, has exploded into a delightfully contagious, collaborative endeavor to strengthen the local economy and our community ties by bringing people together one night each month to celebrate art!  The Arts Room is especially happy to note that this month’s featured local artists are huge favorites among arts-loving families:

Ellen Blomgren, ceramic sculptor, artist educator, and owner of Mudstone Studios in Warren, will open her studio doors to give us all a sneak peak at how she works.  Ellen’s intriguing animal figures are a natural draw for children and teens, and she has worked with artists of all ages in her classes and workshops, and as an artist-in-residence in several local schools.  You won’t want to miss this chance to see her workspace up close!

A floor or two above Mudstone, in Studio #225 at the Cutler Mills in Warren, copper artist David Ferro will open up his workspace and give us a chance to see his spectacular weathervanes in process!  If you’ve never before glimpsed the inside of this fascinating studio then don’t miss this chance.  David’s work is unique and inspiring, and adults and children of all ages are bound to be captivated by every nook and cranny of his studio.

A wonderfully unexpected thing has happened over the past year, as the buzz about ART Night has steadily grown – a growing number of local shops and restaurants have begun to participate in this art-focused endeavor, creating what we like to call … PERKS!  They have been brilliant, odd, and varied, and they change from month to month, but they are always worth noting.  Here are some of the perks being offered for ART Night this Thursday:

The Community String Project’s Adult Ensemble will play a selection of seasonal carols and folk songs in Cutler Mills from 6pm ’til 7pm.  If you plan it just right, this’ll make for a relaxing interlude between Open Studio visits!

MUSE, on Main Street in Warren, is holding an Awesome Affordable Art sale, perfect for holiday gift-giving. Plus, they’ve got spiked cider, Simply Devine’s homemade apple fritters and live instrumental soundscapes by Matt Kiepert, or what they like to call “very soothing sounds for a very long time.”

●Also in Warren, The Wooden Midshipman on Water Street is having a Nautical Art
Sale! All art, framed or unframed, is 25% off or more during this special holiday preview, and each piece comes with complimentary gift wrap. If anyone is thinking of grabbing some original, affordable local art as a gift, ART Night is definitely the time to stop by and have a glass of mulled spiked cider while they gift wrap it for you.

●Upstairs from Green River Silver on Hope Street in Bristol, a new gallery has opened! Alta Luna Gallery will be hosting an opening reception from 6pm ’til 9pm: “Harvest ~ Light ~ Celebration”, a juried exhibit of regional artists.  There will be live music by blues guitarist, Ross Robinson, and refreshments will be served.

●Also in Bristol, local painter Blayney Norton will be featured at Kate & Co. on Hope Street, while next door at Angelina’s Coffee, they’re having a reception for artist Kendra Ferreira, who creates the most amazing colored pencil drawings.  Around the corner at Sea Rose Cottage on Constitution Street, painter Kathrine Lovell will be the guest artist.  A few blocks north, The Knotty Dog on Bradford Street will be featuring the work of local fiber artist Maya Tavares.  And there are new exhibits not to be missed at Hope Gallery, Gallery Eleven, and the Bristol Art Museum (on display at the library) along the way!

These are just a few of the perks being offered this month; to find out more visit the ART Night website here, and look for them on Facebook!

The Arts Room wishes to extend our appreciation to the many hardworking people who labored tirelessly all year bringing ART Night to our community every month!  We wish you a restful holiday and we look forward to ART Night 2013.  Thank you!