Deirdre Moore | July 2013

The Search for Inspiration: Arts Immersion To Do List Week 4

Has another week passed already?

I cannot believe I am already 4 weeks into my Summer of Arts Immersion!  Last week I had suggested that we think outside the box when finding ways to experience the various art forms and noted that I had seen a beautiful modern dance piece online that was not intended as a performance but was simply a dance class exercise caught on tape.  In line with that, this week I discovered theater online and am loving it.  Put a check mark next to “Experience art: theater”!

I have mentioned TED Talks before in my blog because I find them to be such an amazing source of inspiration and information.  It’s like having the best professors in the world who are completely jazzed about what they do talk directly to you in your home when it’s most convenient for you.   Perfect.  This time I happened upon the “Playlist” feature on TED.  These are groups of talks curated by TED that reflect a particular topic.  The one I have started to watch is called Spoken-word fireworks.  (I feel they need to be savored so I am taking my time!)  It’s a collection of impressive spoken-word artists who have combined the beauty of poetry with the power of theater.

Spoken-word is not an area in which I have ever delved as an artist myself and I have little experience as an audience member.  Watching these masters of the art form has helped me understand how vastly different these performances can be.  There is such a great range from quirky and funny to thought-provoking and heart-wrenching.  We have some who speak in their own voice and those who speak through the voices of others.  There are those who utilize technology and those who simply stand alone and weave a story for an audience.

The playlist begins with a talk and performance by Sarah Kay of Project V.O.I.C.E. (Vocal Outreach Into Creative Expression).

Hearing her talk about her work teaching spoken-word with teens inspired me to reflect how I could harness the power of this art form through Arts Integration.  Sarah tells the story of a teenager with whom she worked who didn’t feel she had anything interesting to say.  And therein lies the issue with many young people, and many not-so-young people.  That feeling of having nothing to say.

If you feel you have nothing to say, nothing of value to contribute, you cannot intentionally create art and you most likely will not even want to try.  As practitioners of Arts Integration, one of our challenges is to find ways to help each of our students find her/his own voice.  Sarah explains how she “tricks” her students into writing poetry.  The summer is a great time to sit back and contemplate how you can inspire your students.  It may help to start by inspiring yourself – explore spoken-word!