By Jim McCloskey
My recent blog on the formation of Artistic Resources & Training brought an unusual response: Not a single person wanted to comment on my words in print, and the many who called me directly all requested that our conversation be off the record.
While that hasn’t advanced the dialogue I was hoping to build, it amply demonstrates that feelings are running high – which is, I suppose, understandable given the personalities involved and the general tendency people have in these situations to want to take sides.
What roiled people most about my blog, it turns out, was my passionate assertion that education in watershaping has run into a ditch. Generally speaking, the drift was that I had been unfair and had not given enough credit to the work Genesis 3 has done to lift the level of professional education available to watershapers.
Believe me, it’s not that I’m unwilling to give credit where it’s due: My appreciation of, and involvement in, Genesis 3’s programs through the years evidences my abiding support of its goals and philosophy. My blog simply reflected a perception that the Genesis 3 approach has become a bit too familiar, rather than always reaching for something new.
In my phone conversations, it was pointed out again and again that Genesis 3 is holding a summit meeting at the end of April to unveil the renewed sense of purpose and direction that has emerged since Skip Phillips and Brian Van Bower parted ways with David Tisherman late last year. I am encouraged by what I’ve heard from some of those involved, and I plan on participating as best I can when the time comes.
I am also aware that Mark Holden and the faculty he has assembled at Artistic Resources & Training are in constant discussion about ART’s emerging curriculum. The first courses, which will be offered this May, will be significantly different from anything I’ve ever encountered in my 26 years around watershaping.
Ultimately, it’s all good. Genesis 3 has been spurred to evaluate its way of doing things and to find fresh approaches, new courses and a broader range of instructors, and ART seems well aware of the fact that to make its mark, it needs to be bold and innovative and different in the way it approaches the educational marketplace.
Frankly, I wouldn’t have guessed that news this positive would result from the shuffling of so many deck chairs on the ship of education, but I am thrilled with the possibility that two striving, ambitious teaching entities will emerge from what could have been an utter disaster for watershaping education.
As I see it, competition of this sort is good for everyone. It will take some time for things to sort themselves out, but it is my hope, as I expressed in every conversation I had on the subject, that ART and Genesis 3 will eventually complement one another and lift watershaping to all new levels of professional excellence.
To repeat myself, it’s all good.
If you have comments or additional thoughts to offer, please do so below. And be sure to share this blog with anyone you know who might be interested!