|Inclement Iowa||The Future|
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An Inclement View
I spend many hours drawing, creating, photographing and writing my Inclement Tales, all because I really feel close to this place and the people who live there. I hope it shows in the final product! I think it does, because the overwhelming first response to my books, before the story is actually read, is how striking and colorful the pictures are. Many times, children and adults alike are mystified by how I create this art. And the answer I give them is that, as a child, I grew up in a household that fostered creativity. My mom was an artist, and later an art teacher when I was growing up. And there were always art supplies in the house, always crayons and blank paper and paints and play dough around to manipulate. And, it was something I simply “took to”, like some folks play piano at a young age, or others are able to hit a baseball on the first pitch, and then nearly every pitch after that. Incidentally, I’m terrible at baseball.
But, honestly, that probably isn’t because I have no talent. It’s because I never practiced. I have been practicing creative thought nearly since I was born. And through that, I have been able to grow up, run a successful photography business, and realize my dream of writing, illustrating and publishing children’s books. Inclement, Iowa is a wonderful place, an amazing world that is being revealed to me little by little, and I relay that wonder to everyone in this world through my books and drawings and photography. But, Inclement, Iowa is in some ways, a very small, incidental result of creative thought.
In our country today, we are faced with very unique challenges. For instance, we have issues we have to solve with energy—where are we going to get it? What kind of vehicles are we going to drive? How will they look and operate? What kind of towns and cities are we going to live in and how will we power them? What kind of jobs will we as a society need to create to solve these problems and the new ones that will arise? Creative thought is the only way to answer any of these challenges. Innovative ideas are the only thing we have to guide us through these roadblocks and into a new era of energy independence, where thinking outside the box is the norm and we open our minds to endless possibility of a cleaner world, more job opportunities, and better lives for our children. And the only way we can teach creative thought is through the arts. Education in the arts—music, drama, visual arts, creative writing—at a young age is the way we condition those mental muscles to be creative. Not everyone is Michelangelo or Picasso. But everyone can learn to think around corners, to problem solve in totally innovative ways, and it all starts with presenting our children with crayons and paper and piano lessons and encouraging them to put on puppet shows. Every other part of their education will be enhanced by the skills they learn in art education.
Unfortunately, because of the very nature of art, it is hard to grade, it is hard to test for progress, and therefore it is often thought of as one of the more dispensable parts of public education. However, I will say that we, as a society, cannot afford to ignore the enormous impact art education has in the lives of children. We need to foster creative thought—whether it is the composition of a breathtaking piece of music, the writing of an award winning play, a children’s book series, the design of an innovative power supply for a city, or the model of a new, alternative energy car—all of these things come from the same place in the human brain. I hope that through Inclement, I can bring the joy of creation to children and adults alike, and bring attention to how important art is to each and every member of our society.