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Coloring Outside the Lines

April 27, 2020

On February 25, an “Artful Discussion” was hosted and held on campus to discuss such age-old questions aswhat is art? What makes art good or bad? Why is art important? The discussion was moderated by the Century Times, as Century students and instructors took part in the panel discussion regarding the value of arts in the Century community, as well as community at large, and helped introduce artistic opportunities available on campus. 

“Art” has been a part of the human experience since prehistoric, cave dwellers first dipped their hands in the blood of animals and left primitive finger paintings on a stone canvas. Art has been compared to nourishment for the soul, as well as food for thought, and the creativity behind art is necessary for the survival of the human species. Without creative thought, we would not be able to imagine new concepts and processes, nor would we be able to see alternative solutions to problems that hold us back as individuals and as a species. As Albert Einstein put it, “Creativity is intelligence having fun.” Most of us, at least as children, found art to be a very enjoyable way to express ourselves through mediums such as mud pies, sandcastles, paper chains, color books, and playdough. We all started out as artists, but somewhere along our path to maturity, many of us developed a fear, a profound lack of interest, or a downright distaste for the arts. Picasso put it this way, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” 

I recently had the opportunity to sit in on the preschool screening process for a four-year-old. The screening assessed things like fine motor skills, physical fitness, language skills, cognitive development such as counting and identifying colors, shapes, etc. One of the tasks the four-year-old was asked to do was to color a page in a color book, which he did using every crayon in the basket. When the test administrator looked at the page, she complimented the four-year-old on his use of a variety of colors but asked why he put a rather large patch of green outside the lines of the drawing. He replied, “Green is my favorite color.” She pressed him on this asking, “But why did you put it outside the drawing?” Without hesitation, the child replied, “That’s where I wanted it.” And there it was! The artist unleashed! Here was a four-year-old child defending his art with simplicity and courage that so many of us adults have somehow lost along the path of conformity. We don’t want our art to be “wrong”. Take it from a four-year-old. It really is OK to color outside the lines. 

Paint brushes, rinsing bowl and scraper all covered with various colors of paint
Paint brushes, rinsing bowl and scraper all covered with various colors of paint (Century College Marketing Department)

Whether you draw, paint, sculpt, write, sing, play an instrument, dance, weave, perform in theatre, slam out poetry, do floral arrangements, decorate cakes, make films, take photographs, build sandcastles, design skyscrapers, make mud pies, or paint on cave walls, you are a creative human in your very own right. You can express your inner artist in a multitude of mediums and before you protest that you’ve had no formal training and you really don’t understand art, try to remember yourself at age four. Did you have any formal training then? Did you understand artistic concepts then? Nope, but you instinctively knew how to artistically express yourself in so many ways and it was good. Century offers numerous opportunities on campus for you to ignite your artistic flame and express the artist within. Check out the Anime Club, the Art Club, Drawing Club, or Film Club if your muse is of the visual arts nature. If you are endowed with musical gifts, you can get involved in the Century Choir, Chamber Singers, Chamber Orchestra, Theatre Orchestra, Concert Band, or Jazz Ensemble. If the written word is your artistic outlet, check out the newly formed Creative Writing Club, or write for the Century Times. Or try your hand at performing arts by getting involved with theatre at Century. All of these on-campus arts opportunities will provide a safe place for you to let your creative intelligence really start having some fun. 

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