Children and Art

February 25, 2013

Hello dear people!

Thank you so much for your thoughts and virtual squeezes on last week's post. I had been thinking about the jealousy for a long time, and filed it under 'things I might share on a braver day.' When I posted, I was greeted by an uncomfortable nauseous feeling and the momentary thought that I might be the only one! (Ridiculous, I know.)

No need for me to worry-- I'm truly in awe of how many people came out of the woodwork and said meeee tooo! Wow! It's amazing how good it feels to not be alone on this one. Now, if all of you people could just find one another, get huggy about it, and then unite in creative ass-kicking.

(If you haven't already, go read The Jealous Curator's writing on the occasion of the site's 4th birthday. It's very in-synch with our conversation.)

Anyway, onto other things...

Did you fall for your art when you were a kid? My sister-- 11 years older-- was a ballet dancer. The real kind! She also played violin. So, I did a lot of pretend ballet and played the violin on my arm. Eventually I fell in love with singing Broadway show tunes and German lieder. Being in choir carried me through my awkward adolescent days-- the days when my Greek nose was 1/3 of the size of the rest of my face. Apparently, my nose helped with resonance (no joke).

Singing led me to theatre and modern dance. And, all of these things introduced me to great people, taught me a certain amount of discipline, and gave me a creative outlet. You guys, aren't we all so lucky to have that creative outlet, even on the days when it tortures us a little?

This brings me to my dear friend, Kristen Graves. She's a fantastic singer/songwriter! Kristen does a lot of work to help impoverished kids on the Cheyenne River Reservation in South Dakota. Last year she decided to start a guitar camp on the reservation. Her fundraising made it possible to buy 50 guitars for kids and adults of all ages. You can watch Kristen's video of their recital below. Oh, my heart!

Now Kristen and the kids are selling a song they wrote for $1 to raise money for this summer's camp. And, I think you should go buy it.

I spent a week painting houses on a reservation in South Dakota, but I've learned far more about reservation life from talking to Kristen. In a nutshell: it's harder than anything I can comprehend. There's a lot of drug and alcohol abuse, and the unemployment rate of about 75% doesn't help with this. And - just like other places- they're dealing with a lot of bullying issues in schools. In November, Kristen lost one of her dear reservation kids to suicide at the age of 12.

So, choir was a total gift for me. Maybe it was art class or drama club for you. Regardless: our creative outlets changed us for the better. Let's share that gift with others. Please help Kristen bring guitar camp back to the reservation. You can buy their song over here.



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