To Survive or THRIVE?

test caption In less than one month, thirteen of us will step on a plane, leaving for India for three weeks. Sitting in Ms. Tousignant’s classroom on the upper floor of Bullfinch, I was transported from Andover, far away to Mumbai, where I considered the situation. One of the main focuses of this meeting was Art for Akanksha, a program half of us would work with during our stay. We were asked to consider, “What is the difference between surviving and flourishing?”, “What if any role does art play in society?” .

Art for Akanksha, an NGO in India, focuses on making art accessible for students who would not otherwise get the opportunity to experience and learn it. Akanksha began as a program focused on providing underprivileged children in India a place to stay after school. It has grown much larger since it was founded and now includes art. After hearing about the program, we were asked to think of the importance of art.

When I began to think of the role art played in society, I first thought of the role it played in my own life. I have never done much in terms of studio art, the type Akanksha focuses on. However, I have studied dance for fourteen years. Dance provides me with a outlet through which to express my myself and my feelings. Dance was always my rock that got me through some of the harder times in my life. Dance helped me to survive. It gave me a support system of girls I would take classes with after school and grow up with at the dance studio. It gave me people to become close with through an art we loved.

While I have found art to be a key part to my survival, it has more importantly provided me with an opportunity to flourish. It has made me happy and given me chances to excel at something I love and share that love with others through performing and teaching. Dance helped me to thrive.

In considering great cultures, we often examine the art of that time period. In history, you also learn that the societies that were able to specialize in things were the ones that did well. Cultures that have art are often considered to be the better ones and we use art to mark greatness in this way.

I believe Art for Akanksha provides students with the opportunity to thrive. It gives them a chance to explore and enhance their abilities. A way to express themselves and learn more about themselves. Personally, I believe this to be an extremely worthwhile endeavor. From my own personal experience and through studying history, I find art to be a key component in thriving.

If art for Akanksha offers students an experience that is at all similar to the one I received through dance, I think it is worthwhile. I think the ultimate goal should be to thrive. Why not give children India the same opportunity to thrive? Akanksha’s mission to provide children with empowered lives, I believe this can be done by providing them an opportunity to excel through art.

As I think about stepping on that plane I am hopeful that I might be able to give students a chance to thrive.