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Reignite Your Creativity; Challenge Yourself

It’s almost the end of the school year here in Texas, and it occurred to Matt and me that we have a habit of seeing great books recommended on our social media stream, buying them, and then wishing we had the time to dive into reading. There’s no time like the present with summer break around the corner, so we’ve collected a stack of books with the intent to reignite our creative selves. The theme that ties these titles together is “unlocking creativity,” and while we are both art educators, finding time for our personal creativity isn’t always a priority. I also know this to be true for most of the teachers we work with on a regular basis. While we all believe we are better arts educators when we model our own artistic endeavors, the reality of teaching and all it entails — plus the responsibilities of everyday life — tends to impede our ability to make time for personal creativity. When the creative light dims, we must take time to reignite it. It’s our hope that these books (with links) will assist in fueling the light and the passion to create.

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert;

“Your own reasons to create are reason enough. Merely by pursuing what you love, you may inadvertently end up helping us plenty. (“There is no love which does not become help,” taught the theologian Paul Tillich) Do whatever brings you life, then. Follow your own fascinations, obsessions, and compulsions. Trust them. Create whatever causes a revolution in your heart. The rest will take care of itself.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, page 101

Creative Block by Danielle Krysa;

“What matters is that you enjoy the process of making. There is pure joy in that. Remember when you were little, and you just made stuff because you had a fresh box of crayons, or some colorful thread, or a feather that you found on your way home from school- you knew you had to make something! Anything! Those were the glorious day before the pressure of trying to sell, or trying to get a rep, or wanting a show in a gallery. That what all of us have to reconnect with -the joy.” – Danielle Krysa/The Jealous Curator, page 9

Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley,

“One prerequisite for achieving creative confidence is the belief that your innovation skills and capabilities are not set in stone” “You have to believe that learning and growth are possible. In other words, you need to start with what Stanford psychology professor Carol Dweck calls a ‘growth mindset.’” – Tom Kelley & David Kelly, page 30

Shut Your Monkey by Danny Gregory, &

“The monkey won’t tell you the truth: Creating is sharing, giving to the world, giving of yourself, your wisdom, your energy, your love and care- and when you put it out there, it returns many times. It’s a gift. That’s why creative people are called, gifted.” -Danny Gregory, page 144

“I think it’s good to have a lot of projects going at once so that you can bounce between them. When you get sick of one project, move over to another, and when you’re sick of that one move back to the project you left. Practice productive procrastination.”– Austin Kleon, page 65

The Creativity Challenge by Tanner Christensen,

“No matter what your age profession or personal interest you need creativity in your life. More than that creativity requires you change how you think about thinking.” -Tanner Christensen, page 6

As you can see from the above quotations, we need to go beyond reading these books about creating art; we must actually create art. All of the books share ideas, processes, challenges and a plethora of resources for reawakening the creativity that gets lost in the daily survival of the school year. In addition to utilizing these resources, we will continue to participate each month this summer in #K12ArtChallenge, which will be hosted by amazing art educators who will share either daily or weekly prompts. This is all provided in hopes that you will create and share via social media using the tag #K12ArtChallenge. June is hosted by Tim Needles (@timneedles), who will share creative prompts from The Everyday Renaissance Project. July’s hosts are the creators of Journal Fodder Junkies, David R. Modler and Eric M. Scott; they will share visual journaling prompts throughout that month. In fact I would also suggest their books The Journal Junkies Workshop: Visual Ammunition for the Art Addict and Journal Fodder 365: Daily Doses of Inspiration for the Art Addict as these will give you a great spark for daily creativity. August is all about reflection and pulling creative inspiration from quotes, music and memories to creatively prepare for the new school year. We’ll be doing that with the 31 days of reflection challenge, hosted by Matt and me. By utilizing the above literature and the #K12ArtChallenge, we hope for a summer that will reignite both yours and our own creativity. We look forward to sharing together, seeing your pictures and thoughts posted on Twitter, Instagram and Vine.

More than Ever, wishing you Creativity,

Laura & Matt Grundler

originally published on


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