Have you had your art today?

“Have you had your art today?” is a new creative storytelling opportunity from Arts for Humanity! In response to the challenges presented by our current health emergency, the organization is offering a new platform to inspire the community to engage with their unique creative process. I’ve contributed three dream stories to the project to help seed creative storytelling on the public Google Slide document. Also, I’ve donated the use of a couple of illustrations for the social media campaign, “Have you had your art today?” I hope you will read this post, share, and consider contributing something of your own to help grow the community for this new creative offering.

The final image of a collaborative chalk drawing at Santa Barbara’a Madonnari Festival in 2013

Participating in a creative project with the guidance of professionals can provide a safe environment for people to engage. The oversight and interaction with a professional are essential when exploring any shared creative activities. You wouldn’t attempt to operate a machine without instructions, and the same cautions should be applied to creative work. What’s unique about “Have you had your art today?” is adapting to the time and space constraints of the moment. Similar philosophical and psychological themes connect pencils to keyboards and cameras. As communities grapple with thriving during new challenges, we can find solutions by looking to history. 

From hieroglyphs to the printed book, from radio to computer networks, the spirit has found itself inside a variety of new bottles, and each new medium has become, in a variety of contradictory ways, part of the message.

Davis, Erik. TechGnosis: Myth, Magic, and Mysticism in the Age of Information.
Painting flowers on coasters, a children’s art activity.

My first creative work after graduating from the Kansas City Art Institute was assisting the Executive Director at Arts for Humanity! Our relationship goes back now for about 15 years. I’m grateful for the opportunities I have had to learn by working with Karsen Lee Gould and Arts for Humanity! In particular I am proud to have written a couple recommendations for inspiring UCSB college interns who have gone onto graduate studies in the fields of communications and humanities. One of the main lessons I have taken from these experiences is the need for more time. We need time to engage in quality interactions with each other that are rich in all the wonders of person-to-person connections that do not translate instantly through the use of new technology.

Karsen Lee Gould training college interns for the Arts for Humanity! program in 2013.

Arts for Humanity!’s Santa Barbara-based nonprofit arts organization works at the intersection of social services and arts education. The need for art opportunities that engage people in multi-sensory creative work is vital and desperately needed. How we meet this growing need is uncertain. Social-emotional education is essential and increasingly difficult to teach as technology simultaneously distracts people from their physical environment. A big part of educating people about art and technology is how to manage it in a balanced and healthy way. For this reason, organizations like Arts for Humanity! can offer decades of experience in developing quality programs at the intersection of social services and the arts.