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P.S. ARTS recently launched a new series, Arty’s Book Nook, aimed at engaging our audiences through children’s books focusing on authors, individuals, or messages that have the power to change the world through the arts. Below are some words from our host and P.S. ARTS Instruction & Curriculum Specialist, Donzell Lewis, on this month’s Book Nook selection, “The Artivist” by Nikkolas Smith.


In this month’s edition of Arty’s Book Nook, we delve into the profound narrative of “The Artivist” by Nikkolas Smith, a powerful tale illustrating the potential of art to ignite social change. The protagonist, a young boy, embarks on a transformative journey, discovering the power of his art to catalyze meaningful activism. Through his narrative, readers are introduced to the concept of an ‘Artivist’—a fusion of Artist and Activist—a term emblematic of the harmonious synergy between creative expression and social advocacy.

What sets the term ‘Artivist’ apart is its ability to bridge seemingly disparate realms. Often, society compartmentalizes artists as those who solely pursue commercial success and activists as individuals entrenched in social justice causes. Yet, “The Artivist” serves as a gentle reminder that each of us holds the capacity to embody both roles, transcending conventional labels.

 

Artists fundamentally create from a place of inner curiosity—a drive to manifest their creativity, expand their imagination, or find solace for their souls. The true essence of art lies not in conforming to industry standards but in the authenticity of one’s expression. Whether one seeks commercial acclaim or not, the essence of creation lies in the act itself—a testament to the vitality of one’s artistry.

The transformative potential of art extends beyond individual expression. It possesses the ability to culturally shape communities, capture histories, and articulate the human experience in its myriad forms. The arts can serve as a conduit for education, entertainment, revolution, and enlightenment—a testament to its boundless potential, limited only by the constraints we impose upon it.

An activist, on the other hand, is a champion of social justice, striving to dismantle the inequities entrenched in our societies. The enormity of global injustices can often overwhelm, but collective action ensures that no burden is insurmountable. In this symbiotic relationship between art and activism, lies the antidote to the wounds inflicted by injustice—a shared commitment to reflection, restoration, and resilience.

At P.S. ARTS, we uphold the belief and motto: “We have the freedom to imagine. We have the power to create.” Because imagination is liberation, and creation is empowerment. It is within the realm of imagination that artists and activists alike conceive visions of a world transcended from its current state—a world they then courageously endeavor to actualize.

Whether one identifies as an artist, an activist, or an artivist, the imperative remains the same—to embark on a journey of self-exploration and self-healing, which can oftentimes lead to societal transformation. Success, whether measured commercially or personally, is but a reflection of one’s dedication to their craft. Your art is not contingent on external validation; it is an intrinsic facet of your being, a birthright waiting to be claimed.

Perhaps, like the protagonist in “The Artivist,” your art will serve as a beacon of change within your life—inspiring transformation in schools, neighborhoods, and communities. In the face of adversity, artists and activists alike embody resilience, steadfastly pursuing their visions of a better world.

So, let us forge ahead, unwavering in our commitment to artistry and advocacy. In the pursuit of our passions, may we find solace, purpose, and the courage to enact change. For in the union of art and activism lies the promise of a better tomorrow—an inclusive, equitable world shaped by our collective imagination and determination.


Hear Donzell read The Artivist for our second installment of Arty’s Book Nook on YouTube and follow us on social media for updates!


About Donzell Lewis:

P.S. ARTS’ Curriculum & Instruction Specialist, Donzell Lewis, is a highly acclaimed youth theater educator/director, actor, and comedian, known for his exceptional talent and dedication to the arts. Previous to becoming the Curriculum & Instruction Specialist, Donzell dedicated a decade of his career as a Theater Teaching Artist for P.S. ARTS, where he successfully implemented a comprehensive theater program for grades TK-5. His approach is guided by a commitment to radical inclusivity, acknowledging and respecting diverse cultural legacies, challenging euro-centric standards, and engaging in courageous conversations that drive social change.

About Arty’s Book Nook

Arty’s Book Nook is a series by P.S. ARTS that explores the magical worlds of art and reading through picture books about people who change the world through art. In this brave space, we invite young artists to embark on adventures, discovering the joy of storytelling and the wonders of creative expression. Through curated books and activities, we invite readers, artists, and learners to join us as we dive into worlds where every heart finds its place. Arty’s Book Nook selections are read by P.S. ARTS’ Curriculum & Instruction Specialist, Donzell Lewis.

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