Adj Marshall

Posts Tagged ‘Art’

A 1770’s Education + A 1970’s Education = ?

In Art, Education, History on September 1, 2011 at 2:08 pm


“Goodness without knowledge is weak…yet knowledge without goodness is dangerous”

~Phillips Academy 1778 Constitution

Many of you were with me at the beginning of my journey… that is when I officially decided I was going to document my LEAP (Liberal Arts Education Plan) through the articles here on Learned Curiosity. If you were not, I have probably met you somewhere along this journey and would encourage you to check out its beginning. While I must admit I have all but ignored the documentation these past few months my learning continues to prevail. In journeying, my physical and cultural awareness has been tested inspiring my intellectual and spiritual centers. I have made it across the country and back twice by train, plane and buss, for trainings, radical marching band events, rock-climbing adventures, hiking, adventures, back packing adventures, family history research quests and of course… to share my wealth of knowledge by serving as an educational facilitator.

When I first began contemplating my LEAP over 8 months ago I was grappling with the questions of “What does it mean to be educated?” “What is a valuable education?” and “Where does one find such an education?” In choosing my LEAP I was eschewing the Americentric educational view which values concrete classrooms with credentialed instructors and standardized outcomes. Instead I was choosing community, collaboration and creativity to serve as my guides. Sir Ken Robinson, a leading thinker in the field of educational reform, states “We have to think differently about human capacity, we have to get over this old conception of ours about academic, nonacademic, abstract, theoretical, vocational” and recognize that “most great learning happens in groups, and that “collaboration is the stuff of growth”. Check out the animation below Changing Educational Paradigms.

Choosing my LEAP over graduate school last year was essential in staying true to my values. I learned long ago that by serving as an active participant in my own education rather than a passive one I could come to a more in depth understanding of our global community. Education for me, has always extended beyond the confines of a classroom, necessitating a deep-rooted engagement with community.  So when I chose to look at graduate programs this year I only selected ones that valued the expertise of community and creativity as much as I did.

I applied to two institutions neither program having exactly what I was looking for… and the truth be told I don’t believe any one program could. Each was uniquely skilled in their field of expertise and allowed enough freedom for students to explore varying interests. I felt I could be comfortable at either. Being accepted to both programs allowed me the freedom to choose the educational program best fit for me… only I couldn’t.  In the end I decided that only by creating my own blend of the two programs would I be able to delve into the issues I hope to pursue.

Which leads us to today the day before I begin my studies at both World Learning’s Graduate School for International Training (SIT) in Conflict Transformation (Brattleboro VT) and Brown Universities M.A. in Public Humanities (Providence RI).  Combined, these two institutions will give me the international perspective on the positive use of arts in conflict situations while  allowing me the resources and knowledge to understand arts impact on social interactions.  As the year moves on I will be pursuing studies focused on how marginalized communities (most likely international ones) utilize the arts in their personal struggles for justice.

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Ritual Created, Goal Accomplished !

In Art, Business on January 7, 2011 at 11:27 am

Selling my Art !

Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.

– Pablo Picaso

About two years ago I began crafting with a good friend of mine Carole Ann we called it Crafternoon. At first it was just a way for us to get to know one another outside of book club. I would bring my sewing machine to her house and we would work together on projects or independently on our own projects. In the summer after our first year crafting together we decided to to make this thing we did together a little more formal. We started a blog (which Carole Ann still carries on today), we sold at our art work for the first time at the Down City Arts Festival, and even had our first business meeting where we created our Artistic Manifesto.

The manifesto, hatched in the living room of my Artist Residency at Firehouse XIII, was quite simple :

  • Stay True to the crafternoon philosophy (learning and creating as a part of a community)
  • Contribute to the artist community of creativity
  • Learn about art/specific skills
  • Earn a little money to sustain our studio/supply costs
  • Excite and energize others with our work
  • Network with other artists in Providence
  • Become comfortable in our skills as artists

While a lot has changed in the last year we have both kept true to the manifesto in our own ways. About midway into our year of time together Carole Ann and I realized that our art work had gone in two very different directions. I became obsessed with silverware utilizing the materials and tools available to me at the Steel Yard while Carole Ann kept on moving full steam ahead with her sewing. At this point, we decided to go our separate way, each supporting the others creative ventures. In this separation however, I lost my accountability partner, the person who would check in on me and make sure that I was reaching the goals I had set out for myself.

My Gift from Carole Ann

Reaching goals requires routine, routine however, can seem stifling. Twyla Tharp in her book the Creative Habit (which Carole Ann gave me as a gift last winter) states it best: “There’s a paradox in the notion that creativity should be a habit. We think of creativity as a way of keeping everything fresh and new, while habit implies routine and repetition.” What makes something a ritual is that you do it without questioning the need”… “It’s like going to church. We rarely question why we go to church and we don’t expect concrete answers when we do. We just know it feeds the our spirit somehow and so we do it”.

In creating rituals we get out of the habit of allowing ourselves to procrastinate the little steps that will help us reach our goal. If we make the steps of our goals a ritual we will will be less likely to find excuses for not completing them.

One of my professional goals is always to become a better writer. In order to become a better writer however, I need to write. Having a reason to write that I am held accountable is what often makes this goal a difficult one to pursue. Learned Curiosity has given me that reason.  In creating this blog I new that accountability would be essential. So when I began posting I attempted to create a ritual for myself.  I committed to posting on Learned Curiosity  for 7 days straight starting day 1 with with the LEAP plan. Day 3 I would go public and day seven I could scale back.   After day 7 ( Which Is Today !) I can honestly say I am quite proud of myself. Making posting an essential piece of my daily life I knew would allow me to set into motion a good habit for my long term once weekly posting plan.

Sticking to the posting regime this week has been a struggle. There were many other things I could have chosen to occupy my time with instead however I chose to  make Learned Curiosity my top priority. Creating the positive habit of posting I know will assist me in sustaining my commitment to becoming an active writer.

While I have accomplished my goal of posting for 7 days straight, there are still many more goals that lie within the pages of my LEAP, I only hope I can be as successful with those as I have been with Learned Curiosity this week.