12

Sure. It’s just one more than 11 and one less than 13.

Yet it’s powerfully significant.

A dozen, yes. The number of months in a year, absolutely. The amount of hours on a clock, true. All that aside, and more importantly still, it’s an age.

But not just any age. The age when creativity in a child is already in decline. Declining from a time when the world felt free, possibilities felt endless, and the interpretation of it all was the very best part.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. And at Arts umbrella, this commitment guides us.


A MANIFESTO

A published declaration of intentions, of viewpoints, of motives – provides one place for our central, unifying differentiators to live, so that together we can work from the inside out, to instill creativity in everyone. Because 12 may be a tipping point, but creativity is for all ages.

So whatever is unleashed and uncovered here in the land of Arts Umbrella, be it self-confidence or self-love, it must be strong enough for all our kids – child, youth or teen – to take it out in the world and do good things with it forever.

What we do isn’t necessarily about cultivating artists, so much as it is about cultivating an environment. Where kids and teens are able to experience unbridled joy, freedom, and themselves-ness. And learn to never let it go, not even when they become an adult.

No – if we’ve done our job and committed to inspiring creativity for good, they will have the confidence to wish and to dream that their life has the creative potential to tackle absolutely anything at all. Which, of course, it will.

It’s all here under one Umbrella.

The child is our compass

Everything we do (no, really, everything) is for the betterment of the child. If it’s not in the best interest of the child, we just don’t do it. And if it is, we do. Period.

We are free to be free

We foster an environment where everyone is free from judgment. Free from shame. Free from criticism. The only thing we’re not free from, is freedom.

Supply the megaphone

We honour the individual voice. And when we sense that there’s a voice in our midst that isn’t being heard, shaped, or recognized, we provide a safe space for it to flourish – until the power of its newly-found volume is felt the world over.

Share creativity like there’s no tomorrow

Creativity isn’t something to be relegated to the classroom. It’s something to be shared. We supply the environment for a child to come into his or her own, and then, we stand back, while they spread the pure joy of creativity, discovery, and expression – everywhere they go.

We are forever curious

We believe in trying things again, for the first time. We believe in the power of exploring outside the lines. Simply put, we believe in being forever curious.

We know what LOL stands for

We laugh out loud. A lot. After all, if it’s not fun, it’s just not worth it.

We keep our fingers on the pulse

If it’s contemporary, state-of-the-art, avant-garde, the latest version, the newest technique, the must-use brush, or the talk-of-the-town pastels, chances are we’re on it.

Collaborate, converge, & connect

Like apple pie and ice cream, so too do we pair well together.

Yes, we can stand on our own. But when it’s time for a skillset mash-up or an ideas exchange, we set our individualism aside and immerse ourselves in that intangible brand of collective magic.

We follow the rules except when we break them

We believe in discipline. We believe in respect. We believe in structure and rigor. Because at the end of the day, we believe kids must know the rules. So that – when the situation calls for it – they can go ahead and break them.

Always accessible no matter what

Arts education is a basic human right, right up there with breathing fresh air and drinking clean water. We believe in providing access – to what is rightfully theirs, no less – to all children regardless of circumstance. And if that means moving a mountain or two along the way, so be it.

We believe in individual expression

Creativity is as individual as you and me, so we put away the cookie cutter. We believe in committing to the emotional, physical, and creative development of the whole child. After all, we believe the only use for a cookie cutter, is for cutting cookies. Not shaping children.

We are one community under one umbrella

Since 1979, passionate young artists, proud parents, and dedicated instructors have been coming together in the classroom. And while that’s where it all starts, that’s not where it ends. A classroom? Sure. A supportive, like-minded, life-affirming community? Absolutely.