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July 10, 2018


Golden


GoldenYears ago I saw an interview with an educator who worked with poor kids in inner cities. Her thing was about raising funds to take these kids on trips abroad. She talked about how important it is for poor kids to travel ... even if they can't travel as frequently as rich kids ... for them to see the vastness of the world ... to help unleash their potential. And the importance for a poor traveled kid to be able respond to a rich traveled kid who says "When I was in Paris it was foggy" by replying not with silence and ignorance but with direct experiential insight like: "Oh really? When I was in Paris it was raining."

A few years ago I invited poor kids to paint with me. One in particular was crazy talented. I let her use my Golden paints. After class, she came up to me and asked "Where can I buy those paints?" With her talent, I'm sure she had had lots of practice with paints but never the expensive and gold-standard Golden paints. I'm not sure if she ever found her way to a store to buy Golden paints or if she has kept up her practice with the brands that she had been used to.

I was listening to author Lauren Groff on the the Think Again podcast the other day and she said that sometimes she will spend years on something and throw the whole shebang out cause she thinks it sucks. She segued into a discussion about how it's important for creators to have that luxury ... actually that privilege ... to create with abandon. The privilege to create with access to the best materials and best creative environment ... without the pressure for what we make to put bread on the table or clothes on our backs. It is a privilege. It is my privilege too.

So I'll be painting with poor kids again. And this time, I asked if the school budget could allow for Golden paints and all the other good stuff and I got the green light. I'm so thrilled. Perhaps I'm being impractical because what if they experience these beautiful paints but cannot afford them again in the near future?

Maybe, maybe not. I'll give that question to the universe to answer. But I do know one thing. If after we paint together and they interact with a kid who can afford to buy all the good stuff all the time, they won't reply with ignorance or silence. They'll be able to keep up, compare notes about Golden versus other paints ... and perhaps how when they were in Paris, it rained.

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