Thoughts on Creativity from Chicago Studio Volunteers

April 12, 2019 By catherine-norcott
Two women, seated, looking at fabric samples on a desk.

Volunteers contribute in so many ways to the rich creative community at Arts of Life.  They are active in the daily life of the studio. They encourage exploration and experimentation.  They witness the highs and lows of making. They take care of our shared creative space. While they come from many different backgrounds and participate in different ways, one thing that unites our volunteers is their commitment to creativity.  With deep appreciation for all they do, we wanted to make some space for volunteers to share their own perspectives on creativity in the studio and in life. We posed some questions to volunteers, and below are a select few responses:

What does creativity mean to you?

“Creativity is an outlet of expression, whether being drawing, painting, or music, that makes an artist or others feel good about what they do.” – Stephanie F.

“Instead of starting with what does creativity mean to me, let me share what it is like to start to

lose it. The colors around you start to lose their vibrancy, you find yourself binge-watching television shows just to pass the time, and worse of all you find yourself in a routine that you know you could change, but you don’t because it’s comfortable.  Creativity on the other hand, is when you take risks, are spontaneous, or do an activity that makes you uncomfortable. This creates memories and curiosity, provides different perspectives and work, and even creates new aspirations.” – Jake L.

“Someone once told me that for a creative person, creativity is a matter of life and death. I couldn’t agree more. Choose an instrument- paintbrush, clown nose, vocal chords, spatula, or an expanse of sand by the lake- exploring with a spirit of curiosity and possibility connects me to my deep joy and source of energy.” – Mary R.

What is your experience of creativity at Arts of Life?

“For someone starting to dip slightly more than a toe into the stream of ART, it’s encouraging to be with people who wear the title of “ARTIST” with such easy confidence.  Creativity is the air the people at the studio breathe and the secret sauce on their sandwiches at lunch. Except it’s not a secret! It simply saturates the shared space.” – Mary R.  

“I think it is really good for artists to have a place to go to express themselves.  I used to just drop people off, but now, from being here, I have a different perspective.  I really like it.” – Stephanie F.

“I am immediately welcomed with warm smiles from people passionate about their work filled with vibrant colors. Whether it’s Hubie attaching objects together to make a new mixed media sculpture, to Alex painting a second coat, or even Jean who, while sharing jokes, is dedicated to her practice and pushes out pieces like there’s no tomorrow.” – Jake L.

How does participating in a creative community impact you?

“Once you step inside, you don’t want to leave. These artists are so motivated to work and improve their pieces, it is contagious to whoever visits. It even inspires me to delve into a new project or whatever initiative I am pursuing in order to keep up with the artist’s creativity.” – Jake L.

“I found a passion for teaching fitness and yoga. Connecting with people and helping them live their best healthy lives. While I looove yoga….I did feel a disconnect with the strict teaching methods I was trained to lead.  [At Arts of Life], I found a special space where I could communicate the beauty of yoga…my style. I am blessed to support Arts of Life with my creative spin on yoga, and I am even more blessed for the love and creative energy I receive back.” – Julie C.

“The creative energy moving from person to person, bouncing off the muraled walls, weaving itself into the casual conversations carries everyone in their work. I’m lucky to step into that space every week. It’s part of my promise to myself to nurture my creativity because even though visual art is not my focus, being at Arts of Life encourages my own practice outside the studio.” – Mary R.