Sunday, March 18, 2018

a fresher view.

Today in the wood shop, I plan to clean first and then cut lumber as I would in preparing stock for school classes. I'll have my camera set up to record the process of preparing to teach kids.

Last week was exciting. We launched the boats and delivered canes for the injured and infirm. This week, while the students are off for Spring Break, I launch the the building of a new book about woodworking with kids. On Tuesday I give the leaders from A+ Schools a tour of the ESSA campus in the hopes that we can work with them on their fall fellow's retreat.

There seem to be two basic ways to look at human beings. Some will adopt the position that human beings are bad folks, or that among among us are very bad folks, and then build walls on that basis to keep us apart. Another view is that folks are basically good, that we are generally safe in each other's company, and that we become safe and safer by caring for each other. I seem to fit best to the latter category. Life in a small town has led me to that position.

Here in Eureka Springs, we express care for each other through a variety of non-profit organizations, and if someone was to doubt the goodness of the human being or of being human, he or she would need to look no further than the efforts of so many volunteers and become convinced. People, even those who think poorly of human kind, feel inclined to give something of themselves voluntarily to others, even when they are gathering together to demand that we build huge towering walls between us. Even they offer evidence that I'm right.

Yesterday I went on a tour at the redesigned galleries at Crystal Bridges Museum. The curator had in mind that the museum could tell more than the standard view of American History. Diversity is the word we heard. That word insists that the paintings of the great masters of American art, be displayed in proximity to the works of others, equally masterful and as powerful in their skilled intent.

Now, alongside a famous painting by an American master, you may also find a relic from our indigenous past. You will find delicately beaded children's moccasins, and other lovely things. The beaded moccasins in particular tell the story of the great love that American Indian mothers felt for their children. Is that so different from what any other mother might feel? They also illustrate the tremendous pride they had in their work. Is that any different from what a white mother might feel?

Also, instead of only paintings and sculpture, some furniture is there, reminding us that great art is not only flat work or sculptural forms.  It does not comes only from one race or one class or one gender and can be made to serve as a part of daily life. There are those who insist on building walls between us, by assigning greater value to one gender, or one race than another.  Crystal Bridges seems to have launched itself in the direction of presenting a fresher view.

Play (in school and out) is the means through which we learn about who we are in relation to each other. The objects our students make through play are a part of this process, as you can see in the photo.

Make, fix, create and increase the likelihood that others learn lifewise.

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