My dear college professor, the passionate woman who gave me her precious collection of drama books, passed away last weekend. I am deeply saddened that she will no longer light up the world the way she did before, but I know that she is positively glowing now in a brand new and profoundly more powerful way. There’s another star in the sky for me to follow. I might not have read the books yet, but her passing has given me a new resolve to focus on who I am and who I want to be as a teaching artist. After all, she’s counting on me up there.
Many artists have “artist statements” and I’ve had a lot of trouble writing mine until now. It’s always a little scary to share something so deeply personal, but here it is: my manifesto, my artist statement and, as my boss would say, this is my artist statement “for today.” It might be different tomorrow and that’s so okay. Here’s what I’ve got so far:
I am a teaching artist. I am a theatre arts practitioner and teaching is an essential part of my creative process. For me, art empowers people with the tools they need to express themselves. As a theatre teaching artist, I use drama and storytelling techniques to cultivate creativity, self-expression, communication, celebration, and collaboration in people aged five to ninety-five.
I believe in using improvisation to improve our relationships and how we communicate ideas. Sometimes we need to learn how to effectively make a scene instead of avoiding conflict.
I challenge adults to rediscover the power of imagination.
I engage students in activities that inspire, stretch, and illuminate.
I believe that stories are the building blocks of humanity and I seek to provide people with the creative outlets through which their stories can be shared. I believe that our stories make us who we are. If we don’t share them, we miss out on vital opportunities for human connection and compassion.
I believe in learning to play and the other way around.