#ArtsEdWeekIndy: Arts Education Creates Problem Solvers

Justin Wade Executive Artistic Director, Young Actors Theatre

Justin Wade
Executive Artistic Director, Young Actors Theatre

There is an island of trash in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, an actual island. This is a new problem in the world. The world is filled with new problems. They are everywhere. Who is going to solve these problems? I believe that the student who truly has the creative mind will.

What builds the creative mind? It is my opinion that arts education is absolutely vital to the building of the creative mind. Arts education is more than teaching someone what the particular art that they are studying is like. It is more than making them into a lifetime arts patron. It teaches the student how to build the creative mind that is able to create solutions for problems that did not exist before. Creating art out of nothing ends in a student studying medicine believing they have the creativity to find a cure. It ends in someone starting a business that did not exist before. It helps a student to gather a vision for jobs in an age where technology is taking them away.

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#ArtsEdWeekIndy: Thoughts on Arts Education from Carlos Sosa

Carlos Sosa The SosaGroup Creative Renewal Arts Fellow, Round 8 (2013-2014)

Carlos Sosa
The SosaGroup
Creative Renewal Arts Fellow, Round 8 (2013-2014)

I frankly find discussions about whether art is important enough to be taught in schools rather unfortunate and somewhat ridiculous. It seems to me that the importance of the arts to education is a no-brainer. However, various educational systems seem to determine otherwise. I was asked to offer my observations concerning this topic, so I have provided a couple of random thoughts here:

Art inspires.
When I was a child, I perhaps owned a few colored markers, BIC pens and #2 pencils that were the extent of my available art tools. My father used to work at a print shop and so despite the fact that I wasn’t well-equipped, I was fortunate to have ample paper on which to sketch and draw. In elementary school, I was encouraged to produce posters for art contests, to act and sing in school plays, and even participate in public speaking. I grew up in an era in which public art was everywhere—especially on subway cars and shop gates. In fact, a whole new genre of art developed around me: hip-hop. Because of the city I lived in, I had ample access to the fine arts. My sisters and my school programs would take me to the MET, MOMA, and occasionally to attend Broadway shows. I was essentially a poor kid, but lucky to have an inspirational world of art all around me. I certainly am a testament to the fact that the arts contributed to my success in school. I use what I learned from my arts experiences to express myself with all kinds of projects from illustrated history timelines to creative writing to musical slideshows (today’s PPT presentations). Effectively, I use what I learned for my arts experiences to become the design professional that I am today. I help inform, communicate, entertain, and educate and I’m proud of the fact that I can do this.

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#ArtsEdWeekIndy: Gary Brackett on “Why Arts Education is Important”

Gary Brackett, President/CEO and Co-Owner Brackett Restaurant Group and former starting linebacker and Captain of the Indianapolis Colts

Gary Brackett, President/CEO and Owner Brackett Restaurant Group and former starting linebacker and Captain of the Indianapolis Colts

Art is an important part of my family’s life. Art–be it through spoken word, music, or gastronomy–is also a huge part of our Georgia Reese’s restaurant. We were thrilled to display an extraordinary piece of art by local Indiana artist Pamela Bliss in our restaurant during the 100th Running of the Indy 500. We know that art is good for the economy, and it elevates Indianapolis to a world-class city. But, I was asked why arts education is important to me. In short, I was recently stuck in traffic and saw a bumper sticker that read, “Earth without art is just eh”–I’m sure you have seen one like it! We all have! And hopefully it stayed with you like it did with me. Because who wants to live in a world of “just eh?” As a parent, I know many of you join me in wanting what is best for our children. We want our children to inherit an earth rich in beauty, diversity, art, and culture. We work hard so that our children can enjoy experiences we never had as children. We invest in our communities today because we want them to be full and robust for our children tomorrow. We do not want to leave a community that is “just eh” for our children. Instead, we want to leave them a community so deeply entrenched with exceptional art and culture that their quality of life is infinitely better than ours.

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#ArtsEdWeekIndy: “I See Potential” by Michael Grady



Michael Grady, Any Given Child Indy Creative Engagement Committee Co-Chair & Sportscaster 93.5/1070 The Fan, WRTV-6, Pacers

The arts have played a huge role in my life and career. While I am a radio host and television sports anchor, my experience with the arts STILL influences my job performance. In elementary school, my ability to write song lyrics and poetry gave me confidence at a young age. It forced me to challenge myself and expand my vocabulary. I would read and write virtually every day. In my late teens and early 20s, I was able to perform my inspirational poetry at local high schools, colleges and universities, the Indiana State House, the Indiana Black Expo, and at numerous events. Public speaking, an area that so many struggle with, became a strength of mine. When I became the public address announcer for the Indiana Pacers, I was asked several times, “Do you get nervous speaking in front of nearly 20,000 people at home games?” My response is always, “No…” because of those early experiences that was made possible because of my interest in the arts.

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