I'm embarrassed to say I don't remember the specific of the first time I tweeted with Trilby Jeeves, but it was quite some time ago. I'm sure though, my first encounter with Trilby Jeeves on Twitter had to involve creativity, acting, and her workshops to help people better understand and use their creativity. Somewhere along the line, probably in a later night conversation, I asked her to do a guest blog post. Trilby claims it was 3 years ago! I'm not sure it was that long ago, but suffice it to say I was excited recently when we got the first Trilby Jeeves guest Brainzooming post "in the house."
Trilby is an actor, instructor, and writer from Vancouver, Canada. Nine years ago, a back operation inspired her to change her working life and she began "Buffoonery Workshops." Trilby is a strong advocate for creativity (as you'll soon learn from today's post), and her passion is to help people play in order to lead a more balanced life. Here's Trilby Jeeves!
Creativity and the Arts are Frivolous.
If you believe that, then you better not run into me or a few of my friends in a dark alley or even a coffee shop.
Let’s say you did meet me in a coffee shop and we start talking about the recent arts education cuts. (I just heard about a whole performing arts program being sliced away, with 15 minutes notice given to the department at Keyano College in Fort McMurray, Canada).
You say, “Well, it’s about money, and the arts are frivolous, really.”
At that moment, you will see my face redden, my posture improve immensely, and you’ll sense a strange sort of energy hitting you, paralyzing you in your chair. You will not be able to shift, even if you command your legs to run.
Nope. I will have cast a “You just sit there and listen to me while I re-program, appropriately, your ignorant thinking” spell.
Are you listening closely? Maybe you should take a sip of coffee from that really cool mug someone designed.
Arts, creativity, right brain thinking, drawing, painting, performing, entertainment, storytelling, designing, poetry, dancing, song writing, singing, music and more are all words that conjure different images and feelings for each person in this world. For me, it means air to breathe.
I wonder to myself what they mean for you.
You shrug your shoulders, indicating a nonchalant commitment. “Yeah, those are all nice things, but do they make money?”
I ponder your question and realize I need to address creativity and the arts in a pragmatic way for you to actually get it. I have to let go of the emotional side of the arts for a moment (which, by the way, serves many, many purposes).
“Well, (I refrain from calling you “dear” and releasing my inner sarcastic tone)… well, actually, if you were to do some deep examination and number crunching, you’d probably realize the arts actually bring quite a bit of good economic impact to a country.”
“Take Europe, for instance, I believe that most people voyage there because of the museums, galleries, historical architecture, food (culinary arts), and the richness of the atmosphere of cafes, theatres, and music.”
“Would you agree that brings quite a bit of money to an area?”
You reluctantly agree. I can tell it’s reluctant. But, I can’t stop there. I bring the debate closer to home.
I ask you about where we are currently. This café. I ask you to look around, and take in the atmosphere, how the tables are placed, the types of chairs we are sitting on, the music in the background, the lighting, the splashes of color on the mug you’re holding, and I ask if you think these elements just occurred by magic, or if some thought went into them? It is rhetorical, really, isn’t it?
Of course, someone DESIGNED everything we are experiencing. And, it translates to a monetary value. If the café had no atmosphere, do you really think they would be doing such a roaring business? I don’t think so.
But, what I have explained is very basic. Very. However, it does bring the question of art and creativity to a pretty fundamental place. Maybe that’s where we’ll get the attention of people.
If I were to bring the idea of the Performing Arts (of which I’m part of) to the discussion, I would think you might feel like you have more fodder for dismissing it as an extracurricular activity (as did Keyano College in Fort McMurray).
My guess was correct.
But, if we look at story telling as a basic human need (start with cave drawings and continue to money making filmmaking), you’ll soon realize that keeping stories secret, and not sharing, can be detrimental to your health. (Result: a community’s health costs rise – not very economical).
I avoid the obvious (to me) benefits of seeing live performances, and coming out of a theatre with life changing ideas.
Need I suggest that when the young embrace performing arts as an option in high school or beyond, how much their confidence is built? We can turn that into a monetary response (since you seem to base everything on that) in that they will do much better in their adult life with this confidence. They might turn into entrepreneurs where creative thinking is crucial (trust me.. I am one of those people who has created her own job via the right brain road). And, they might do so well that they actually create jobs.
I see you are starting to sweat a little. I know that’s a sign you are realizing the absurdity and ignorance of your earlier thoughts, and, that perhaps you need to change your attitude.
I stop ranting. I realize I should let you re-think your ideas regarding creativity with these simple observations. My hopes are that you will look at the world through an alternate lens and realize that “artists” show up in all sorts of subtle ways.
And, if you decide that truck driving for the oil sands is more important, just remember that someone had to design that vehicle and think outside the box in order to make it a little more comfortable and safe. And, they might have even included a DVD player where you can watch those billion dollar Hollywood movies on your break.
I release my spell, watch as you nod, and thank me, shakily, and depart the busy café. I call out after you, “If you come back tomorrow, I’ll talk about how great the arts and creativity is on a spiritual level!” You nod again.
Eventually, another person strolls over and, asks, “Is anyone sitting here?”
I smile and say, “No, please sit down.”
I breathe in.
“May I ask you a question?”
Need More Ammunition to Challenge "Creativity and the Arts Are Frivolous"?
Just in case you need a little more convincing or some ammunition for your own “Take the Frivolous out of Arts” movement, here are links to check for more information.
- TED talk by Ken Robinson on Creativity
- TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on Creativity
- Why the Performing Arts are still Important
Vive les arts ET la créativité! – Trilby Jeeves