The Be An Artist Program
“ARTISTIC THINKING COMES FROM ATTENTION, INTENTION, AND DOING WHAT YOU LOVE” – Darden Smith
Since 2001, Darden has been presenting The Be An Artist Program to students of all ages. These workshops demonstrate how to successfully transform the students’ natural interests and into a life of passion, purpose, and creativity. Starting with the idea that we are all born artists, the workshop demonstrates how to build a creative life around what we love to do. Schools from California to Massachusetts and across the United Kingdom, France and Germany—have welcomed this dynamic and original program, giving their students a window into the power of combining creative thinking with action.
“The students are still pondering how they got so creative so fast as they listen to the songs they wrote with you. They may present themselves as a tough audience but they were all taken in by your message and enthusiasm. You made a difference in their life because of your program.”
Don Hale – 8th grade teacher – St. Francis School Austin, Texas
How a typical Be An Artist Program session works:
In the classroom, Darden begins by one of his original songs and gives the students a brief overview of his career as a musician and songwriter, describing how the creative passion of his youth became his job.
Darden draws awareness to the three ingredients to artistic thinking: attention, intention and doing what you love. He focuses on the idea that everyone is an artist in some way and offers students simple tools for recognizing the artistry in their own lives — from studying for a math test, to playing the piano to driving a car.
To show students how easily the artistic process can unfold, Darden leads the group in an innovative, fast-paced exercise — writing an original song based on something they love. Every student is encouraged to contribute, whether it is a word, a few lines or the title for the song. Darden guides the process, keeping the song on course, as the students themselves become the songwriters.
With a guitar, laptop computer and a microphone, Darden and the students sing and record the song on the spot. Schools receive digital copies of the songs, which can be distributed to the students.
Darden concludes each session by illustrating that what made him feel “different” when he was young, later became the building blocks of his professional life in music. The message is clear: students don’t need to be more like others, but more like themselves. They are encouraged to be proud of who they are and pursue their dreams, critical steps toward leading happier, more creative lives.
THE POWER OF MUSIC AND ART
• Sessions are designed for students ages 12 – 18, and customized for different grade levels, depending on the needs of the school.
• Sessions can be in classroom or assembly-style formats.
• Sessions last 50 – 60 minutes. Up to three sessions can be scheduled per day.
• Teachers, parents and administrators are encouraged to observe the sessions. One teacher is required to be in the room at all times.
For information on how to bring The Be An Artist Program to a school near you, contact Darden.