Friday, March 28, 2014

Little Women

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 6:00 AM

Two weeks ago the Madame Walker Theatre Center asked me and four other women to come and speak to young ladies about careers in the arts. As usual, I was hesitant but likewise, I was inspired by the time I had and what I learned from the children. I arrived at the Walker on a Saturday morning and we met in the third floor conference room. Twelve girls attended the "Little Women in the Arts" workshop and were eager to hear why women chose to work in the arts and what paths they could navigate to do the same.

I gave my talk in list form. I gave them seven reasons why I enjoy working in and for the arts in Indianapolis. Find my short answers tailored to 8-year-olds here.

Like the participants in the Little Women gathering, these youth from the Kuumba Kamp last summer are among many who attend the Madame Walker Theatre Center's specially designed programs to engage Indy's youngsters in the arts. - COURTESY OF THE MADAME WALKER THEATRE CENTER
  • courtesy of the Madame Walker Theatre Center
  • Like the participants in the Little Women gathering, these youth from the Kuumba Kamp last summer are among many who attend the Madame Walker Theatre Center's specially designed programs to engage Indy's youngsters in the arts.
  1. The arts can be used in many different ways. I can use the arts to get people to think differently and to learn differently. I can use the arts to offer a new perspective and to begin to change stereotypes.

  2. The arts have no language barrier. It doesn't matter if you speak Spanish or German or English, the arts have their own unique language that is cross-cultural.

  3. The arts are multigenerational. Whether one is older or young, anyone can enjoy the arts so the audience is large. It's literally everyone.

  4. The arts will always be a part of our lives. The arts will never go out of business. As long as there is someone with a beautiful voice and someone who can play an instrument, there will be art. It has always been and it will always be.

  5. There's no right or wrong opinion when viewing art. If you love it, you love it. If you don't like or don't "get it," that's fine too. Art is subjective.

  6. I like working in the arts because the arts make people feel better. It's proven that when art is present, sick people heal faster. It's therapeutic.

  7. I like the arts because I love shoes and clothes. People who design high heels and cute shirts are artists. We have to remember not to put artists in a box. Those who design office interiors and watches and your favorite sweater -- they are all artists.

It was a great exercise to consider why I really love working amid our arts and culture scene in Indy. The girls asked questions such as, "I want to be a singer -- how do I do that?" and "How can I be bold like you?"

When considering their curiosity and eagerness to learn about the arts, especially at their age, it validates what many of us in the business already know. We  need to reach Indy's youth and answer these important questions and keep them asking. Keep our youth engaged in the arts and foster their enthusiasm for cultural enrichment. Thanks to the Madame Walker Theatre Center for thinking to host young girls and those of us women who are in the arts to share our knowledge and experience. This is a perfect example of what businesses and venues in the community can to support such endeavors. Can you think of other ways we might engage and educate our young audiences?  

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About The Author

Malina Simone

Malina Simone

Bio:
Malina Simone Jeffers works to connect audiences and get people excited about Indy via local organization, Mosaic City. Mali sits on the B.O.D. for Big Car, Indiana Humanities and The Exchange at Indy Hub. Tagged “Arts up-and-comer” and “The Unsegregater” by the Indianapolis Star, and arts and culture winner for... more

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