The End of An Era: Minds, Hands, Voices
From a young age, I subscribed to the idea that life is a series of people and opportunities; therefore, all I could ever be is grateful. That philosophy has changed over the years to include my own agency; but at my core, I still hold fast to the idea that people + opportunities x gratitude = life. I came to this conclusion sometime in the 7th or 8th grade while lying in bed at night taking stock of my life. I’d think about how a girl like me, from my circumstances (neighborhood, socioeconomic status, family, etc.), can say that I’ve taken dance classes at EDGE Performing Arts Center with and from the likes of Elizabeth Berkley, Cindre Che, Tracee Ellis Ross, have performed at the Alex Theatre multiple times, and can manage a costume change in under a minute. I knew it didn’t JUST happen. I knew I didn’t do anything to deserve such opportunities. So I concluded that it was a series of the people in my life (family) creating opportunities for me to meet more people (CPSOA staff) who would then provide more opportunities (arts education). And all I could manage to feel is gratitude.
Creative Planet School of the Arts (CPSOA) and the opportunities it has afforded me and my cohort, have been life changing. The course of my life would not have been what it’s been without Creative Planet. And the path I’m trying to forge ahead is absolutely influenced by my time there. As I work my way back into the creative field, I hope to make half the impact CPSOA had on so many lives. The news that they are shutting their doors saddens me to no end, but I’m glad to have been part of such a vibrant community. I’m glad to have been ignited with a passion for the arts that I hope to never stop pursuing.
My hope for anyone who’s been influenced by the work of CPSOA staff is that we continue to allow ourselves to be creative. May we continue listening to and acting on the work inside of us that’s begging to be made. One of my favorite quotes by Brené Brown, a woman I admire greatly reads, “Unused creativity is not benign; it metastasizes. It turns into grief, rage, judgement, sorrow, shame. We are creative beings. We are by nature creative. It gets lost along the way. It gets shamed out of us.” I know that’s not exactly uplifting, but it can be. It’s reassurance that we NEED to continuously feed our innate desire to be creative. CPSOA taught us that creativity comes in all shapes and sizes, so continue to pursue it in whatever form it reveals itself to you.
Lastly, thank you Billy, Michelle, Santo, Amy, Mrs. & Mr. Rugh, Mrs. Spencer, and all the other staff and parents who had unwavering devotion to Creative Planet’s mission to empower and equip students with the minds to build, hands to create, and the voices to be heard.