…but I’m not an artist…

I hear this a lot and have often found myself saying it as well. But after years of dabbling in this and that, I’ve stopped. After trying things out, failing and still enjoying myself, I’ve stopped. All it took was the right people allowing me to explore my own creative side, teaching me a few skills and techniques and then letting me take my own reigns. It worked. I am an artist.

I am creative and sometimes fearless when it comes to creating certain things. I’m not afraid of failure, because I’ve learned that often the best outcome comes from a mistake. I am an artist.

I can write poetry and tell a story.  I can act and play a mean drum. I can paint and mix colors, and oh, baby, I can dance. This is not to say people want to hear my poems or stories, pay to see me perform or jam with me, collect my paintings or tip me while dancing (although some have tried ~wink~), I’m just saying I love to create.  I’ve freed myself of this idea that “I am not an artist.”  I am an artist.

Think of what would happen if we allowed our students to limit themselves in being what they thought they could be.  “…but I cannot read…but I am not a writer…but I cannot…”  So why would we allow that for ourselves?  We need to crystallize and not paralyze our students and ourselves!

I’m setting out to help other teachers realize their inner artists, not by perfecting their skills, but by liberating their potential.  I believe that if we are able to see the artist within ourselves then we are better able to see it in our students.  By becoming this type of artist, we can understand our own way of thinking and appreciate others’ perspectives.

And it’s not just about art, it’s about learning.  Art is learning.  The creative process is the learning process.

By many standards, I am not an artist, and yet I am…and you are too!

In what ways are you an artist?


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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of www.theinspiredclassroom.com. She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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  1. Julie says:

    Whew…I feel like the mouse in the proverbial maze…this blog has led me from one thought-provoking post to another and to other bloggers’ sites, as well! Let’s see…I’ve visited the Art Room, Peter Reynolds (author of “The
    Dot”)blog and site, Thinkfinity, and The Whole Child. Ah, but I digress…sort of. There is a circuitous method to my madness.

    I often feel like I am out of touch with my creative side, and that there is a yearning deep inside me to find my way back. I love Peter Reynolds’ story about bringing his paints with him wherever he goes and inviting those around him to dip in and create. As teachers, we are in a unique position to extend this invitation to all our students and of course, to ourselves! Thanks for the gentle and powerful reminder!

  2. Becky says:

    Julie I couldn’t agree more about feeling out of touch with my creative side. Sometimes we find ourselves forced into a certain box. Today’s experience with the artistic process and being in the role of the learner helped me to reconnect. I’m encouraged to find more ways to bring that creativity back into the classroom.

  3. Jennifer Rice says:

    I completely agree too ladies. I am definitely getting in touch with my creative side after yesterday’s class. I wrote a very long comment about this article that was erased the other day and I never bothered to retype it. Instead I commented on another topic. I felt that I would share my journey about feeling like an artist and then not in another way at another time. I think all adults have this struggle in one way or another and I am reading the book “War of Art” that speaks to this subject and blames the word Resistance for our problems. I will share this in our book chat.

  • […] though I didn’t quite know what to make of it.  And then, on Friday evening I happened upon a post by Elizabeth Peterson of The Inspired Classroom, and pop! the thought unfurled, like a moonflower on the vine!  I love to create things, and I […]

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