Friday, June 12, 2015

Create in Community

During the residential writing institute at the Atlantic Center for the Arts we are charged with observing an artist's creation process and writing about that process. We were told on the first day that we could choose one (or more) of the ten art who are here with Dr. Brewer from the Unversity of Central Florida. I chose one, but I have love for them all.

I love watching artists at work. I love being immersed in the creative process. I love seeing art being made. One thing that struck me this week was the idea that we create in community.

It's not a new idea. It's not new to artists or writers or educators or even me, but it struck me a new this week. We are not supposed to talk to our artists when we are observing them--that part is a challenge--but we are supposed to listen, take pictures, document, that sort of thing. I've been listening and, as some may imagine, taking a lot of pictures.

I've heard stories. I've heard artists share ideas and questions. I've heard artists ask each other about their weekend plans (today) and share the process of providing and cooking a meal for each other (yesterday). So many things, I've heard.

I have not heard "that's mine."

I've seen the community coming together. I've seen artists (and writers) help one another. In the sculpture studio two artists manned the table saw together--each taking a side to guide the one's board across smoothly.

In the painting studio, I've seen artists cluster together in one of the cubby corners to listen and talk through ideas for a work in progress. I've seen them lend each other supplies: tubes of paint, t-squares, clear tape, books, a hand-held sander.  I've seen them really listen to each other. I've heard them thank and welcome and praise one another too even when the critique is critique not just rote praise.

Today my take away is the importance of community--a community where a creator, an artist, a writer, a thinker, a learner, feels safe enough to take risks in order to innovate.


  1. This post has really inspired my teaching and learning. What experiences can I give my students that give them to fuel their writing? How much time am I giving my students to observe? How can that impact their writing?

    It reminds me of the Faulkner quote: “Writing is one-third imagination, one-third experience, and one third observation.”

  2. Thank you for sharing your reflective questions, Keisha. Good thinking and I love the Faulkner quote.