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Musings | Jan 15, 2021

A Child’s Purpose is to be a Child

Group of children standing in the woods smiling.

Dear Usdan Community,

What a wildly restorative week this one became for me, due to two virtual events focused on youth creativity. In case you missed them, I'll catch you up. 

On Wednesday afternoon, Usdan celebrated our fall online session of visual art and creative writing courses with a virtual event titled "Usdan Happy Hours: Fall Session." Should you lack time to watch the full event recording or visit the online gallery, I think you’ll enjoy  listening to the show to hear the many encouraging words from Usdan faculty and students. I’ve included a couple of my favorites below. 

​"We need space to relax; we need space and time to zone out...This is an important time to be able to work and use your hands."
—Annie Ewaskio, Online Faculty

"It’s a great way to express your creativity. They teach you so many things that can help you truly express what your heart is thinking."
—Kylie Nakash, Usdan Online Student

The second virtual event I attended this week was “Stage the Change”, which was started by Usdan friend and recipient of the 2020 Usdan Community Award, Ruthie Pincus. “Striving to create socially mindful works of art, challenging artists to raise their voices” through workshops and talks by performers, directors, and playwrights, yesterday’s Stage the Change conference revealed to high school performers how one’s creative practice can be an instrument for the change they want to make in the world.

Both programs reminded me of something the playwright Tom Stoppard said during a recent Lincoln Center Theater virtual conversation reflecting on his 2002 trilogy "The Coast of Utopia." Stoppard said, "A child’s purpose is to be a child."

Being a child inherently means being an artist. Especially during this challenging historic moment, our children need art to enable them to process their lived experience and express who they are. Starting February 1, we will launch Usdan’s third online season, with a purpose of allowing all of our children to be children. I hope you will encourage a young person you love to join us.

Lauren Brandt Schloss, Executive Director