Updated: Oct 2
A small head peaks from behind the body of a guitar, brilliant blue eyes crinkling. She struggles to draw the pads of her fingers across the steel strings of the instrument. It is a hand-me-down with just three strings, but she doesn’t mind. To her, it is nothing but perfect. She takes a deep breath, filling her lungs with oxygen; as she exhales, carbon dioxide is not alone - alongside it is a melody. The lyrics that twist together are far from special as she sings of fleas and “ghosties”. Nevertheless, the unfledged four-year-old wraps stories around her tongue and laces them with song. A young creative in the works, already whittling stories - already whittling her story.
Twelve years later and the creative has only surged forward. She has released an original song on all streaming platforms and has received numerous accolades for her crafts. She continues to pursue inspiration, holding onto it tightly on the rollercoaster of life. That creative is me. My inventive perspective has led me to have a growth mindset in every aspect of life. I actively embrace challenges and look forward to them with excitement, invigorated to discover something new. When trouble rises, I continue forward, finding a new solution to the problem at hand. I doubt that I would be nearly as encouraged to face these difficulties with optimism and inspiration if it were not for my creative expression. Educationally, it has been incredibly useful as well. I can apply my creative abilities, such as unique problem solving and writing, to subjects like mathematics or biology - subjects in which creativity is not known for its presence. My elementary school helped me to seize this creativity and sharpen my skills, guiding me to become an artistic changemaker. I am forever grateful for elementary school which helped me to accelerate my innovative perception through the education system. A multitude of students are not offered such opportunities.
Numerous education systems fail to support the arts. For example, art classes are “completely cut, because of the perceived need to save money and use it to raise test scores” (McDonald, 2016). I can attest to this at my high school. Because of the lack of artistic support from a young age, children perceive that the arts are not of high value in the professional world. Meanwhile, evidence proves that middle schoolers who engage in electives regarding the arts statistically achieve better grades than those who don’t (George Mason University, 2019). While creative outlets are shown to improve academic success, retention, and communication skills, schools continue to minimize their importance. Rather than suppressing those who wish to pursue these fields, we should encourage children to break barriers and find success in what they wish for most. Educators who start with small actions, such as incorporating activities threaded with creative expression into classes, can foster supportive environments and bring essential change.
Elected officials can also have an impact by funneling more tax money into artistic education, as it is currently on a decline. When we are young, we’re told to follow our
dreams, no matter what. This concept, however, is not applied to reality. Once we wish to pursue the arts as a profession, we are met with disagreement: we’re told success is out of reach and that anything regarding creativity is not a lucrative career. Often, those in artistic careers are faced with financial challenges, so worries aren’t entirely unwarranted. Even so, the bottom line is this: the field of the arts is unsuccessful because society makes it so. Its value is reduced and it is encouraged as solely passion, nothing more. The youth internalize this before they even have a realistic idea of their hopes for the future. Policymakers chose finances over spiritual fulfillment, and society puts capital far above creativity. The result? People become void of artistry when it ignites their souls. Creativity must become a higher focus in the education system and workplace, as the imagination can not only benefit artistic endeavors yet every facet of life. Imagination leads to innovation, and innovation leads to creation.
Creativity is like an onion with numerous layers. The thin outer shell can be as simple as snapping a spontaneous photo. Deeper within the layers are feats more complicated, such as writing a fantasy novel. But unlike an onion, the layers of creativity never cease. There is no end to what is possible through innovation. Since I first pulled at guitar strings and produced naïve tunes, I have found hundreds of small-scale opportunities to simply express myself, alongside larger projects that swell with passion. Creativity provides an outlet for me to bring my imaginative thoughts to life. Without creativity, I would feel lost; with it, I find myself. The current suppression of creative identity in a professional setting due to societal negligence of the arts leads to a lack of valuable skills. If the future generations don’t have the assets they need to cultivate creativity, they will soon become lost without return.
McDonald, Jen. “Funding for Schools' Art Programs Ending?” Funding for Schools' Art Programs Ending?, May 2016,
www.kmsd.edu/site/default.aspx?DomainID=312&FlexDataID=3316&ModuleInstanceID=1 237&PageID=383&PageType=3&RenderLoc=0&ViewID=6446EE88-D30C-497E-9316-3 F8874B3E108.
“Taking Arts Classes Leads to Better Academic Performance.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily, 12 Mar. 2019, www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190312123720.htm.
Mia Davis is a 16-year-old Junior located in San Diego, California. Through writing - whether it be creative writing, poetry, songwriting, or journalism - she finds artistic freedom, enthralled by the process of constructing captivating stories of impact. She is the co-president of her school's Creative Writing Club, is a writer for the Affair Magazine, and has received awards, such as Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, for her craft.