When I hung up our Matisse-inspired art projects I finally remembered to make museum art labels. I saw this idea in an article called “How to Be More Creative” by A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically and Drop Dead Healthy. The article was full of good insights like “brilliance is a numbers game” and “make an appointment with your creativity.” But my favorite was Jacobs’s idea—inspired by a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art—to hang his his son’s drawings and put plaques next to them.
This struck me as a very sweet thing to do. When you were a kid, didn’t you appreciate it when an adult took you seriously? Plus, it’s a good reminder that we’re all artists. We tend to glorify the arts and act as if there’s something magical about being a writer or a musician or a painter or a sculptor. But as Michelangelo said, “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it wouldn’t seem wonderful at all.”
I didn’t go too over the top with our labels. I just typed up some simple descriptions, printed them out on regular computer paper, and taped them on the wall next to our creations. (Is this art form actually papier decoupé? I don’t know. But I love how it sounds.)
If you have a chance, you should check out Jacobs’s blog. He’s funny, of course, being a humorist and all. But he posted this lovely letter from a soldier in Iraq who shared stories about how you can find humor in anything. Between you and me, when I visit a writer’s blog I try to read between the lines to figure out what their kids were doing while they got some writing done or how they stopped cleaning out the closets instead of writing.