Thursday, January 17, 2019

"How many of you are artists?" of hands

From a review of a great book  ("Orbiting the Giant Hairball"):

One thing MacKenzie loved to do was to speak to school groups. He’d spend the day going into all the different classes starting with the kindergarten in the morning and ending with the sixth graders in the afternoon.
He started the same way with all the groups. He said
“Look, I’m an artist and I love to be around other artists. I look at your walls and you’ve got art on them so there must be artists here. Anybody an artist?”
In the kindergarten everybody in the class is raising both hands in the air, jumping about all excited saying
“Yeah, Yeah! I’m an artist! I’m an artist!”
They’re not just an artist, they’re an enthusiastic artist!
By the first grade, still every hand is up, not so much dancing around, not as many double hand raises but everybody is still an artist.
You get to the second grade and that’s where the first bit of attrition occurs – not every single child raised their hand. Then it progressed. He would get two or three people raising their hands starting in the fourth grade, a pretty pivotal moment in terms of identifying as creative.
By sixth grade when the children are old enough to understand this, the couple of people raising their hands are nervously looking round to see if they’re going to be judged by their peers.
It’s not just a fear of failure, it’s a fear of being judged. Creativity is as much about the ability to come up with ideas as it is about the courage to act on those ideas – Creative Confidence.
So Gordon Mackenzie asked the sixth graders
“Hey! What happened to all the artists in this school? Did all the artists transfer out? Did all the artists go to art school? I don’t think so. I think something much worse. I think someone or something has told you it’s not OK to be an artist. If you don’t remember anything else I say today I want you to go home and remember it’s OK to by an artist.” link