The Right Brain Initiative

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Arts education was an essential component of our upbringing.

July 26th, 2012 by Todd Haynes

Portrait of Todd Haynes by Steven Cohn, 2011.

Growing up in the 1960’s and 70’s meant that arts education—including music and drama—were standard components of public school education. As we all know that is a rarity in school curriculum today. Perhaps even worse is the way in which a culture of test-based assessment has demoted creative thinking and modes of learning which encourage intuition, self-expression and independent thinking—realms of development in which the correct answer is not the point. We forget that without the tools of creative thought and endeavor we’d have scarcely known an Einstein—let alone a Picasso.

So I’m extremely honored to have played even the smallest part in supporting The Right Brain Initiative and its commitment to bringing art and the value of creative experience into the lives of so many young people. The real contribution, in my case, belongs to Steven Cohn, whose beautifully painted portrait brought me, its unwitting (and slightly embarrassed) subject, into contact with this terrific organization. For me and my brother and sister, arts education was an essential component of our upbringing, and my parents supported and encouraged the centrality of the arts and art-making in my life. For so many kids today, here in Oregon, for whom that support is not always available, The Right Brain Initiative is there to enrich and deepen the essential, regenerative role creativity plays in all of our lives.

Editor’s Note: Portlander Todd Haynes is the Oscar-nominated writer/director of feature films Far From HeavenI’m Not There and the 2011 HBO miniseries Mildred Pierce. Support arts education and The Right Brain Initiative, and take home a one-of-a-kind autographed portrait of Todd Haynes in one swipe. Bid on the portrait pictured above via eBay before the auction closes Sunday, August 5 at noon!

See a video of the signing of the portrait at Portland City Hall, with a statement by Haynes and Portland Mayor Sam Adams.