Friday Edit: Today is the day! All sales of Picket Line will benefit Vibe of Portland!
Do you remember art class? Did you love it?
Art was always my favorite class, hands down. English and Music were a close second and third: nothing could compete with those classes devoted to making things, using your imagination, and getting creative. Especially art class. I never scored well with cutting or coloring (I was always more of an “outside-the-lines” kid) but drawing was my biggest thrill. It was in art class that I created my first comic strip (Bud Ralphy) and discovered how fitting a means of expression that comics would be for me. It was in art class that my friendships went the deepest and I felt most comfortable in my own skin. It was in art class that I learned what it meant to be a creator, collaborating with a Creator.
My grade school didn’t have a huge budget for art, but the program itself was never threatened. Unfortunately that is not the case for many schools. Art and Music programs are usually the first to go when the budget is tight, which is nonsense if you ask me, but to too many school boards these classes are seen more as recreational than educational. In a perfect world we’d see the value of a well-rounded education and would prioritize school funding so that these kinds of decisions wouldn’t be necessary. But until that day I’m really glad to know that organizations like Vibe of Portland exist.
What Vibe does is simple, but incredibly powerful. They partner with schools whose art and music programs have been reduced or eliminated and offer classes. They give kids a chance to explore their creativity when the doors were almost closed to them. In Vibe’s own words, they “empower Portland’s youth through art and music.” Empower is a perfect word. It doesn’t simply give a kid preexisting tools to use in the world (no offense to science and math – those are important tools) but it helps them develop the power and confidence to create their own way, to solve problems inventively and artfully, and to express themselves as they’ve never done before. That is pretty awesome, if you ask me.
This coming Friday, September 21, I’ll be donating all proceeds of Picket Line sales to Vibe. Plus, the book is still half off this month, only $10, and with free shipping! (If you order earlier than Friday, just include a note in your order that it’s for the Vibe benefit.) I’m convinced that Picket Line, my debut graphic novel, would not exist if it hadn’t been for my creative education as a young student. I’m excited to think about the future cartoonists, painters, concert pianists, and composers (among many other things) that are in grade school right now, just beginning to grasp their own creative potential. Support this new generation of artists with your purchase of Picket Line and help give young artists a chance!