Four years ago, when I interviewed someone was representing Fair Trade organization, she said something that I didn’t quite agree with. She told me that all people were creative. When someone living in darkness is encouraged to experiment with their creativity it reunites them with their humanity. Ultimately, the goal of this organization was to offer men and women living in poverty and sex slavery the opportunity to learn a creative trade. The company then sells the jewelry, apparel, and housewares, from which these artisans earn a significant percentage of pay. They also reach out to artisans who are being exploited in sweat shops and offer them a platform to sell their works and improve their quality of life. People are given a new way to support themselves and leave a life that doesn’t value their soul.
Over these years, as I’ve wrestled with the question “Are all people creative?” I’ve come to believe that creativity is one of our bridges to the creator God. While I have experimented with visual art my entire life, I only considered prayer and the study of scripture to be the obvious ways to connect with God. I was skeptical about anything else. Dance, no. Visual art, iffy. As I’ve built my writing portfolio I have met music therapists, art educators, and fine artists who have helped me see what has been present in my life all along. My creativity is an expression the Divine essence of myself as a created being. For me, it is also a way to be in the presence of God by prayerfully inviting him into the creative process.
Diverse artists have made me aware of the spiritual element of creative expression. Meryl Lammers sees the life come back into the eyes of the elderly who are lost in the fog dementia when she plays her guitar. Mary Jane Miller walks her students, some who have never made artwork before, through the process of intentionally inviting God into studying the art of Iconography. Our very own board member, fine artist Hilary White, leads an art program at Ignite Refuge in Florida. She sees children who have blocked their emotions to protect themselves begin open up through the art projects that she presents. Art can bring the young and the old, the desperate and the lost, into a spiritually centered place.
It took four years of happenstance encounters and deep conversation for me to believe that all people are creative. Art can offer people who may have never held a paint brush the opportunity to connect with their soul, to awaken what some believe is lost forever. From here, we can all choose to invite the creator God into this meditative process.