Former Creative Kid is championing the program that changed his life

Former Creative Kid is championing the program that changed his life

February 13, 2024

For Creative Kids Champion Cole Knutson, giving back to the organization that gave him the ability to explore different musical instruments matters to him. He wants all Saskatchewan kids, who face financial barriers, to have the opportunity to pursue their artistic curiosities and gain the benefits through their journeys.

Knutson, now 27-years-old, is an accomplished pianist and saxophonist who has received a number of prestigious scholarships to study abroad and perform around the world, including onstage at Carnegie Hall. This past year he reached out to Creative Kids, asking how he could help. He says, “The Creative Kids funding literally changed the course of my life. It breaks my heart to think about all of the children in the world who may not have access to music, when music could make such a positive difference in their life and the lives of people around them. And, they don’t have access to it simply because of money.”

Knutson is thankful for the support he received from 2012 to 2014, which allowed him to play more than one instrument as a youth, as well as, explore other artistic activities, such as singing. Before the funding, Knutson’s mother sat him down to explain that he might need to choose only one artistic activity, as they couldn’t af ford to pay for lessons in both piano and saxophone.

“The prospect of not being able to pursue my curiosity was really upsetting. Thankfully, my piano teacher told us about Creative Kids and my mother applied. When I found out I got the funding, I remember being absolutely overjoyed because it meant that I could participate then in a full range of experiences.”

He also gained access and friendships, through his piano teacher, to the richness of the artistic community in Saskatchewan. As she of ten brought writers, artists and musicians, who were her friends, to North Battleford to introduce her students to other art forms.

Another benefit Knutson gained was that his growing connection to music helped him to cope with adversity more effectively.

“Music sort of provided me a literal sanctuary. Whenever I was going through something difficult in my life, I could go to this churchand I would spend  literally ten to 12 hours practicing there if I needed to, to just let my emotions out.” – Cole Knutson

As his journey with music continued he gained more than strengths and abilities. “It taught me discipline. It taught me the idea of commitment, the idea of community, and allowed me to grow those concepts. It allowed me to understand deeper, more of what it means to be a human being on this earth. Music also allowed me to understand that the world is actually much more accessible than I was led to believe.”

He doesn’t like to think about what would have happened to him if it weren’t for the Creative Kids support. “Some of the greatest musicians I know, who are seriously intelligent, were sort of overlooked in a school setting, and it was art, in any sort of form that gave them an outlet to really find themselves and not feel like an outcast in society.”

He says that is why he wants others to lend their support to this charity. “Creative Kids is a great umbrella to facilitate growth in unconventional ways. It’s a miracle program really. The gift of a donation I think is something that you can’t really measure. It has the potential to change the lives of children forever.”

Read more impact stories from the Progress Report