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Life Arts

Hope Lost

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"Children paint like geniuses, what is it we do to them that so quickly dulls this ability" ~Pablo Picasso

I love art. I love music. I love a world where both are inherent to existence and to understand the latter one must fully encompass the former. I love science, mathematics, creativity and the exploration of my own and other's minds in an attempt to truly live by my personal credo; A Day without Learning is a Day Wasted.

I was blessed as a child with an inexhaustible thirst for knowledge. I read, drew, wrote poetry, sang, participated in music programs and in general, loved life. I have a good deal of appreciation for my genetic and environmental dispositions handed to me from my Father and Mother but more so, I was lucky enough to attend schools where these microcosms of wonder were emphasized on a daily basis. It has defined me, focused me and made me the dreamer and the realist I am today.

My children also have been blessed with the same. They know art, science, music, poetry and each have inherited intelligence and curiosity from their parents and the rest of their own personal peculiarities from their life experiences. They have a good, solid base to draw from as they march though this chaos we call life. Each has great talent and each has amazed me with their own personal take on this world because of it.

It is sad, however, how many children are not so blessed to have enjoyed the same environmental initiatives. The schools have been cutting out art, music and even the physical enhancements of recess in an effort to control the budget. The people making these decisions are depriving our children of the very thing that makes them free thinking individuals able to explore their own existences outside of socio-economic boundaries, racism, violence and other social deterrents many of them face every day. We are slowly creating a world free of art and expression, free of thought and free of any semblance of genius with financial greed.

In the above quote, Picasso was referring to the child who paints with feeling, passion and pure imagination. The lines animalistic, the colors primitive and the depiction of life free of boundaries. When a child paints, it is the wonderful expressions of nothingness that is expressed on the canvas. It is genius unbounded and alighted with the passion of life. It is the pure solidification of imagination. Only when an adult comes upon the painting and asks what it is does the child begins to become defined in their art. In this same encounter, the adult begins to tell the child what a house, tree or dog should look like. The imagination begins to become defined, controlled. The world becomes a bit more constricted and the child's expression starts to wither, hopelessly.

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Many children have school to rekindle the flame that would otherwise be extinguished from the parent who just doesn't seem to understand the expressive nature of creativity. They take art classes, are required to learn a musical instrument and, in the end, are more beautiful because of it. For my children and me, we explore of our imaginations and reach toward the infinite possibilities of expression through reading, playing and painting. Those children who do not have parents that do this with them however, are lost without school programs to rekindle the flame in their hearts. Slowly, without encouragement, their heart's light dims and their inner Picasso, their sleeping Bach becomes dormant.

As I look around this world, I see many who have no spark left. They have no inner Picasso to paint a dream. They have no Bach to compose a sonata of love, they have no hope to climb the mountain of life. They are lacking the dream that makes life worth living.

The level of violence and desperation in the world has risen beyond any pessimistic expectation; the dark has begun to take hold. Many people would not be so angry and afraid if they could only have the child within them dream once more. If this were possible, maybe, just maybe, the world would be a better place. They could dream once more of a life of living and escape from the chains of hopelessness to soar in the clouds of imagination.

Today, in many parts of this world, children are growing up in a violent and greedy environment beyond their control. They now, more than ever, need us to give them hope. They need the dreams of a better place if this world is ever to improve. We, as a people, need our artists, our musicians, our poets to give us all hope. We need imagination and the fostering of all things artistic to once again become a focus of education. For too long the world has forgotten how important art, in all its forms, really is. Without it to light the way, we will surely all be lost.

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Steven Forrest is a Project Architect living in St. Petersburg, Florida. Currently, he is working to implement Green Building initiatives in several communities across Florida. Given the current situation in America and the continued (more...)

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