Arts and 21st Century Learning Newsletter

Structure Creates Freedom

Everyone wants freedom—freedom to create their lives, to do their work, and to build their relationships. Artists have an unusually keen sense of what it takes to express themselves without restrictions through their art form. They create their art within a context—and, yes, that context is structure. Artists have learned that, despite what seems counter-intuitive, structure actually creates freedom.

It’s easy to think that you are more limited by structure; but in reality, without structure, you’re in constant chaos. By structure, I mean the knowledge and practices of the art form, business, organization, or group that allow you the freedom to perform meaningfully as an artist, a leader, an employee, a friend—as a human being. It doesn’t mean following an extreme hard and fast set of rules. Structure is the discipline and order that gives you stability, direction, and power.

Some people regard discipline as a chore.
For me, it is a kind of order that sets me free to fly.
~ Julie Andrews

Each day artists practice, produce, and perform their art, freely expressing themselves within the context of their art form. They do this by expertly manipulating three basic dynamic forces within the parameters of their particular art form:

  • They know what they need to do to put their art into practice.
  • They know how to take the steps to create meaningful art and achieve success.
  • They are consistent in applying their knowledge.

Only by learning to use the elements and structures of the particular art form can artists communicate expressively. In fact, they know the formal structures so well they can use them without being stuck in a box of strict rules. The structure of a work of art doesn’t dictate, but rather adds to its value. Read more…


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