How “Sparks of Creativity” Connected Young Artists Across the World
By Lorelei Miguel-Rossow, Contributing Writer
Jieru Shi perceived the artist life as one that only existed for those that were “good” at art, or created within the lines of his art classes. When his work did not reflect the norm, or it pushed creative boundaries, he received criticism from his instructors, and took their words to heart. He unfortunately stopped taking art courses; stunting his artistic dream. There were others like him. They faced not only criticism from the outside world, but also from the voices in their heads. He knew that there had to be something he could do to keep that dream alive.
Jieru began a youth initiated project called Sparks of Creativity (www.sparksofcreativity.org). He applied for a grant from Start A Snowball and stated that the publication would, “…Respect the uniqueness as well as skill levels of each person.” He created numerous writing and art contests, soliciting submissions from students globally. The winners were based on the depth of creativity instead of the traditional “skill-based” view.
The winning artists and writers were featured in the first issue of the magazine. Jieru included more work than he originally thought possible, and when he sent out the winners’ free copies, Jieru said, “…They didn’t believe their art had been good enough.” Artwork and/or poetry from over 60 people hailing from more than 25 countries were represented in the publication.
Receiving the grant gave Jeiru the much needed motivation and confidence to realize his vision: a publication that gave all young artists a shot at being their most creative, without boundaries. He is excited to continue the journey and has big plans for producing another magazine next year; possibly including all of the artists that missed the initial deadlines. With this positive outlook on the future, Jeiru is an inspiration to all young artists everywhere who want to create without fear of rejection.