Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Introducing: The Artist's Fingerprint

As many of you know, I have been an artist ever since I could hold a crayon. Passion, engagement, and investment in the arts are as much a part of me as my red hair. I have embraced the platform of investing in the arts as my personal mission both in and out of pageantry.

This year, I would like to introduce to you my official platform that I will take to Miss Kansas as well as across our great state in communities and schools.

I have talked about the artist's fingerprint as I have traveled across Kansas as an advocate for the arts, but I'm not sure I've ever quite put it in to writing... If you will take a moment with me and look around you -- what do you see around you that you recognize as "art"?

Did you note whatever you may be sitting on? Or the building you're in? What about the font that you are reading right now?

It is my mission to change the way people think about art.

Every piece of technology, clothing, architecture, advertisement, and media form (I could go on!) that is around you has gone through the hands of an artist. We are amidst the birth of creative entrepreneurs where the definition of what it means to be an artist is changing at an astonishing rate. The fingerprint of creative thinkers is being left on our world in more ways than you and I could even imagine.

In order to continue to be a global competitor in creation and innovation, our nation must invest in creativity early. This means art in schools. While some may see a child playing with paint and tooting away on recorders - I see these children expressing themselves in the most honest form possible. I see students exploring their humanity and their emotions with empathy and freedom. In the arts, there is not just one answer - in fact, there is not even a right answer. Children are taught to engage in problem solving to create melodies and shapes and movements to compose pieces of art that express so much more than their face value would suggest. It's this kind of creative thinking that will encourage our youth to seek out new answers for the problems that face our world.

With the Every Student Succeeds Act, the arts are validated as part of a well rounded education. With over $50 million being cut from education in Kansas alone over the past two years, and lacking any matching federal arts funding on top of that, we need to work harder than ever to provide arts education and creative outlets for our students and communities.

Everyone can access creativity in some way - If you can move, then you can dance. If you can make a sound, then you can make music. If you can create a mark, then you can paint. If you can see or feel or hear, then you can experience. Experiencing creativity is the priority.

I believe we are all life long learners. Adults crave the arts education we had as children. We know innately that arts provide a connection to friends and family, to community, to ourselves, and ultimately to the world. The arts have immense social impact. They are life changing. They touch us on an emotional and functional level.

So now it falls upon us to cultivate an environment where our children can have this same understanding and experience of the value of arts on our world.  I have the amazing opportunity not only to connect people with the arts, but also to each other. I am engaging a community of creative change agents to be a driving force in creativity and innovation within their fields.

By investing in the arts today, we are creating master artists, innovators, and classics of tomorrow.

Join me in recognizing the artist's fingerprint that is intrinsically tangible throughout our world. Pledge with me to actively engage and invest in the arts in our Kansas communities so as to provide a better future for us all.

-Annika Wooton
Miss Kingman County 2017

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