Apr 182010

BZTAT at BlogPaws (Photo by Brad Smith Photography)

“If you become the change you want to see, you change.” ~ Melissa Etheridge from What Happens Tomorrow?

Consider me changed.


Spending time with Lynn Haigh, coordinator of the Pawpawty, Dr. V. from Pawcurious, Dorian Wagner from Your Daily Cute,  Caroline Golon, staff to Romeo the Cat and BlogPaws cofounder, and Jane Harrell from Petfinder last week at BlogPaws was amazing in and of itself.

Being a part of the “Be the Change” movement that they unleashed at the conference, however, has been life-changing.

Not only has the effort helped to re-commit me to giving back to my community and to animals in need, it has broadened my network of people who are kindred spirits across the world.

Why does an artist keep writing about something that seems sorta non-art related on her art blog?

Because life changing experiences are at the heart of my art, and sharing a love of animals with others in such a deep and meaningful way inspires and motivates my creativity.

I came away from BlogPaws not only with a motivation to do things for animals. I came away with a  renewed and invigorated desire to create.

And one of my creations is helping animal rescue organizations.

One of the neat things about the “Be the Change Blog Challenge” is that I have discovered new blogs that I had rarely or never visited before.  One of these Blogs is Pawcurious, written by Dr. V., a veterinarian from San Diego.

I got to meet Dr. V. at BlogPaws, and she is a very generous and interesting woman with a great sense of humor. I have been poking around her blog a bit and have found her articles heart warming and full of great insights.

In this article about the sad tragedy that happened at Sea World in February, I found a comment that intrigued me:

“I’ve talked in the past about my issues with my daughter’s school and the zero financial support for an arts program.” ~Jessica Vogelsang, DVM

I rather like the fact that a doctor who is highly educated in the sciences realizes the value of the arts as a part of a child’s education.

Dr. V. was lamenting about how schools will spend a fortune to send kids on entertaining pseudo-educational trips to Sea World, yet not spend a dime on arts curricula that would be so much more enriching.

People think that an arts education only trains talented youth for arts related careers. In truth, it does so much more for all children, regardless of their specific talents.

Arts education inspires children to think creatively. It develops character; it motivates children to explore ideas beyond a television set or computer game set; and it stimulates creative problem-solving.

I am convinced that the arts-rich elementary education that I and my brother and sister received in Liberty, Mo. was responsible for not only my own artistic pursuits. It led my brother to become a pioneer in computer systems programming and my sister to become one of the best teachers in the Kanawha County, WV school district.

Arts eduction apparently helped DR. V. become a great veterinarian, and it helped her become a great writer who educates and inspires through her blog.

Here is something few people know about BlogPaws.

From the very beginning, the co-founders wanted to include an arts focus to this very non-arts event. Why?

Because they realized that art completes us. It colors our world. It makes things so much more meaningful. It inspires and moves us, making real-world experiences a part of our soul in a much deeper way.

The PawsArt Exhibit/Silent Auction was a part of the planning from the very beginning of BlogPaws in order to inspire the creativity of the participants.

Seeing the incredibly moving video created by Lynn Haigh, arguably one of the finest creative efforts seen by many in a long time,  has inspired a movement that has exceeded the expectations of a very ambitious crowd.

Would it have happened had we not had the “art” to make it real for us?

I think not.

We are already talking about how the arts will be incorporated into the next BlogPaws event. Do you have any ideas for us? Please leave a comment below if you do.

How have you changed or been changed by art and/or by animals? How are you becoming the change that you want to see?

Life is an Adventure!


  No Responses to “If You Become the Change…You Change”

  1. Great post. I spent a lot of my adult years seeking my “creative” outlet. For a while I found it painting greenware at a pottery shop and finally found that writing is my passion. I think everyone needs some level of creativity in their lives and without it we are not as much as we can be. Education seems every day to be focusing in on just one aspect of learning and development, shoot most school systems are abandoning recess and the concept of free play (yet another alarming consequence) in addition to art, music, theater and other creative outlets. Kids from more affluent families may be able to afford private programs, but we are certainly molding a generation of little machines if we neglect putting them in touch with what it means to be human.

  2. Thx for your comments, Nancy! Children find ways to be creative, no matter what. But if we do not guide them and direct them towards positive creative outlets, they end up directing their creativity towards nefarious pursuits. Or they lose hope. What are we doing to our children?

  3. I completely agree that arts is an essential component to a child's education. As a marketing professional in the animal welfare field, few would consider an education in the arts as an essential building block for my future looking back. However, I was ucky enough to grow up with a father who is an artist and a mother who joined my father in being an advocate for getting me the education in the arts that DIRECTLY lead to my current profession. So often we hear about the creative skills that the arts foster in a way no other training can provide. While this is very true, we don't give the arts enough credit for the concrete, real-life skills that they provide. After growing up in public schools my whole life, I was lucky enough to go to the “fame” high school in NYC where I received the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree in drama at the same time as getting the traditional High School degree. Without the years I spent learning the dramatic profession I never would have learned public speaking, the art of interviewing for a job, working in groups (ensemble work), and so much more. Thank you for your great points and bringing this important topic to light. 🙂

  4. Great post Bz! I agree that arts education is such an important part of a child's education, and I am grateful that my daughter also received an arts-infused education in elementary school. I think it has really helped her develop her own creativity, which will be helpful no matter what she chooses to do for a living. I think it's important for us to continue to push for funding for arts education in all schools. As our local cultural trust has said: “The arts bring life to life!”

  5. Excellent points, Jane. And surely the arts help to bring such emotional issues as animal welfare home to us.

    Thinking of developing a “Be the Change Arts Challenge” down the road to get kids interested in the arts AND animal welfare. You in?

  6. I luv it! “The arts bring life to life!” So true! Often, when there are arts programs in the schools, they are in the latter years, rather than elementary schools.

    I would posit that it is more important to have it in the elementary grades where children's minds are open to creative stimulation, rather than high school, where the natural process of neurological development is more self limiting.

    So glad your daughter got it at a time that will best serve her as she grows older.

  7. Definitely keep me posted. I'd love to hear more! 🙂

  8. Definitely keep me posted. I'd love to hear more! 🙂

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