There's a show on the Sundance Channel called "Iconoclasts" that brings artists together to dialogue about their work, the causes that are important to them, and their creative process. It's one of my favorites, and while watching an episode with Grammy-Award winning musician, Alicia Keys, I heard something that inspired an idea.
Alicia said she'd been singing since she was four and when she started expressing an interest in piano, it wasn't easy for her family to pay for lessons, let alone get her a piano. But she really wanted one. "A friend ended up not needing this piano and gave it to us," she explained. She went on to say that when people ask what her biggest break was in her career, her answer is always, "That piano."
Most people think of a "big break" as someone or something that gives them a chance to show their gifts to the world - the opportunity to perform on stage or TV, for example. But most artists - painters, dancers, writers, musicians, designers, etc. - would tell you that their big break came well before they were able to share their creativity with others.
It came as a result of someone's willingness to help facilitate the expression of his or her innate talents. For example, the person who gave me my first diary (my mom), set in motion the expression of my creative gift through the medium of writing.
As I listened to Alicia, I thought, "Sometimes the most meaningful support we can give others is the something that will breathe life into their artistic expression." And, with that in mind, I thought it might be fun to do a little exploring this week.
How about this: Choose someone you care about and ask:
"What break do you need to better express your creativity?"
"What one thing could I give you that would support your inner artist?"
Then, listen carefully. The answers you hear may range from "I need help finding a great beginner's paint class," to "I could use a new pair of tap shoes," or "I'd love to spend time together to hear more about how you learned to decorate your home in such a beautiful way." The idea is to identify that one small thing you could give that will allow someone to deepen, develop, and express a creative talent.
It's a great question for children. You never know what might happen when you give a kid a chance to express his or her creativity. Agreeing to let your teenage son cook a few meals may inspire him to become a great chef. Or teaching your niece how to use a sewing machine may give her the tools she needs to become a gifted fashion designer.
The older I get, the stronger I feel that we need to provide more support for the artist within and, I believe we're all artists. We just need to be willing and brave enough to make our creative expression a priority.
Whether you're great at decorating a home, weaving a rug, building model trains, or inventing a widget that will save the planet, your creative dreams matter. They hold the key to a better world for us all...
Let's see what we can do to support each other in this regard. Feel free to visit my Facebook Page and post one thing you need to move forward with your art. You might just find someone willing to give you a helping hand. You can post your need here.
Let's be "angels for art!"
Take Action Challenge
Please don’t be shy. Take the time to tell us the break you need on my Facebook Page. And, ask someone you love to identify the break they need right now, and see if you can give him or her that gift. Video Last year I shared a video of a mesmerizing dance performance from Hampton Williams on the TV show, So You Think You Can Dance.
This season, he did another performance with his family that was also quite special. You can find it here. Thanks, Karen!