For those unaware, the Echo is our student newspaper. I wrote this article the week before National Student Leadership Conference, which was, for lack of a more creative word: AWESOME, and also called "RE: imagine, RE: create, RE: new". But, more on that later. Here is the article:
This is the section of the paper that, in general, deals with art as we most often conceive of it—movies, music, books, television. I would like us to move behind much of what we consider good art to the place from whence it came. The creative mind.
To be fair, we should probably back up one more step and ask where our creative minds came from, but that's beyond the scope of this little piece. We will just answer the question—we were created by a more perfectly creative mind, in whose image we are also made. And because of this fact, I come to what I really want to say: it is not just the “artists,” as classically understood, who have a creative role to play in this world. We all do.
After all, what does the best art do? Bring joy, heighten awareness, make us ask difficult questions, help us contextualize, impress us with the power and capacity of the human mind, enrich our lives in a variety of ways, juxtaposition things to reveal a new perspective, et cetera. I do not want to diminish actual works of art and their role in our lives, only to say that if you find yourself in a similar place as me—with an inability to paint, draw, compose music, or write a good story—this does not diminish your responsibility to creatively act in the world.
We don't talk like this often, so it might be a bit of a challenge to discover what this actually means, and then looks like. Fortunately for us, the Creator who made us, made us in a variety of ways, with a variety of passions, gifts and backgrounds and an infinitesimal number of ways for our creativity to manifest. We should start trying some of those out. I can't really imagine what life would be like if we taught and encouraged thinking, dreaming, relating, speaking, and formulating creatively. I like to call it “life art.” Maybe that's not a very creative name. No doubt this kind of creativity already occurs, but no doubt there is a lot of room to grow into this part our true selves.
Some might say that life wouldn't change too drastically if we didn't have art. Or, that we don't need art, so we sure don't need this “life art.” I beg to differ. Surely, life would still be full of circumstances in which we encounter deep pain, confusion, darkness, and sorrow. But, I think that creative approaches to dealing with the difficult reality of what we have faced, are facing and will face in this world are life giving.
Life art (as well as art classically understood) can bring context for our pain, clarity in or confusion, light in our darkness, and redemption to our sorrow. It gets to us in ways that other things can't. It surprises us. It changes us. It is so very unnatural that it jars us out of our normal ways of being, thinking and doing, and renews us, and we need that. If we all did it, it might be a bit like creating a life-giving culture that we could draw people into, kind of like the Kingdom of God. That seems important to me.