Submitted By Diane Jansen
Diane Jansen, mother of a sophomore in high school, weighs in on her son David’s life-changing experiences in the arts.
The arts and its world of creativity opened my son’s mind to exploring endless possibilities, not only in school and in our community, but also as a global citizen. His involvement in the visual arts has made his life infinitely richer; what I didn’t expect is that his experience would impact our entire family in incredibly positive ways as well. The arts have opened all of our eyes.
It has been amazing to watch his development as an artist – his visualization skills have enabled him to think in multidimensional ways. David looks and sees below the surface, viewing people as individuals with hopes, dreams and challenges. He has become increasingly sensitive and compassionate, and is able to understand, relate and communicate with people wherever we go.
The arts have significantly impacted his growth as a person. Through the arts, David learned first hand that our diversity is a celebration. He was first introduced to Japanese SAORI weaving and creating tapestries at the age of five. Throughout the past ten years, David has shared this art form with others in many venues. A tapestry of David’s has even been shown in Japan, and another appears in a book co-authored by Misao Jo, the founder of SAORI weaving.
These experiences have taught David to be a supporter of fellow artists and students, rather than a competitor. At Loop of the Loom/SAORI NY, the Arts Students League of New York and the Emerging Artists Creativity Hub, which is a Program of Young
Audiences New Jersey and Eastern Pennsylvania, David has enjoyed working with people of varying ages, ethnicities, races, and socio-economic backgrounds. He always enjoys how peoples’ differences contribute to their uniqueness, and make life more
interesting and fuller for everyone.
As a mom, I find it extremely fulfilling to watch David at community events with the Emerging Artists Creativity Hub. It’s priceless to see him teach young children — especially those from inner city environments — how to weave colorful tapestries, help make mosaic quilts, and create clay sculptures. Giving back by exposing others to the art of creativity and new worlds is very rewarding for all who are involved.
David’s practice in the arts has made him a more engaged student too. Through this work, he has become fascinated with Asian Studies, learning Mandarin in school, and even teaching himself Korean. He thoroughly enjoyed being a host family for a Chinese student, and has a great interest in studying abroad. That confidence has spilled over into other areas. In the Junior Statesmen of America Club, David has had an opportunity for public speaking. Through the Model UN Elective and activities, David’s used his ability to understand complex issues, allowing him to see varying perspectives and participate in conflict resolution and developing solutions. His arts learning has also increased his deeper understanding of language arts, creative writing, and even his construction of well-crafted papers in Science and History.
I could not be more overjoyed and humbled by the impact the arts have had on my son, his work, and his development as a wonderfully multifaceted human being. And I am grateful every day for his relationships with the arts — they are truly allowing David to see not only his potential, but also a world filled with exciting opportunities.