Sunday, March 25, 2007

Hartford Explores the Role of Creativity and Arts in Education, Business and Community

[22 March 2007 - A report by Steven Dahlberg, International Centre for Creativity and Imagination - From the Greater Hartford Art Council's "Community Conversations: The State of Arts Education in Greater Hartford"] The Greater Hartford Arts Council (GHAC) brought together educators, artists, business people and government officials to explore the state of arts education in the Hartford area. This dialogue was the first of two parts in the 2007 MetLife Foundation National Arts Forum Series on "Arts and Workforce Development" (watch for part two in May).

Moderator and GHAC's Executive Director Ken Kahn started off by asking The Stanley Works' Vice President Tim LeBeau about the importance of creativity in the workplace. LeBeau said that creativity is at the heart of what they do: "We are paid for brand and innovation." He said that because innovation comes from people, they need to be critical thinkers. Creativity also comes into play in designing products for function AND fashion.

Jonathan Gillman, chair of theater department at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, explored ideas about developing creativity in arts students. He said that many first-year students at his school are out of touch with their own creativity. However, being at an arts-based school, each department teaches creativity through a variety of art forms. In response to LeBeau's call for critical thinking, Gillman agreed and was quick to add that creative thinking goes side by side with critical thinking.

Ultimately, Gillman said the aim of the Academy of the Arts is to educate creative, engaged citizens who contribute to the world. This doesn't end at the school's front door. Rather, he said that arts education is a lifelong process, as it has to do with ways of thinking in general and of perceiving the world. More

Monday, March 19, 2007

INNOVATION: How to Implement New Ideas

[1 March 2007 - CIO] This Forum is a follow-up to our Jan. 1 column, which focused on how CIOs can create innovative cultures. Here, we explore how to create processes for innovation. On the surface, putting “innovation” and “process” together seems oxymoronic. Process conjures boundaries; innovation, some say, is best fostered in unfettered environments. But smart CIOs understand the need for both in pursuit of the new. More

Monday, March 12, 2007

Celebrate Windham Kids and Creativity


[8 March 2007 - By Steve Dahlberg - Willimantic, Connecticut] The Windham Arts Center (WAC) will host the opening exhibition of "Creativity: The Heart of Community" Windham Banner Project on Saturday, March 17, from 1 to 4 p.m., with a special presentation at 3 p.m. The event is free and open to the public and will take place in The Annex at WAC, 866 Main Street, Willimantic, Conn.

The Windham community will celebrate public art designed and created by 1300 students from Windham's four elementary schools, including Natchaug, North Windham, Sweeney, and Windham Center. Sixty-four unique banner designs will be hung on Main Street lampposts in Willimantic as public art -- created BY the community FOR the community.

Artist JoAnn Moran of rePublicArt worked with students and teachers for three weeks as part of the Windham Schools Artist-in-Residence Program, which is supported by a $50,000 gift from the Ossen Fund for Arts Education. Through the use of recycled vinyl billboards as the banner material, Moran helped students learn about the importance of sustainability, public art and creative communities.

The Windham Banner Project is part of an ongoing creative community project, working to promote the value of creativity, arts and culture in community and economic development. The 3 p.m. program will represent members of this broader community, including performance artists from the Windham High School Young Poets group, advocate and organizer LaResse Harvey, artist JoAnn Moran, Willimantic resident Steven Dahlberg, and others. Plus, meet the young artists, view an exhibition of their design process, see the banners on Main Street, and share your ideas for future creative community projects.

The City of Toronto Poet Laureate Pier Giorgio Di Cicco says of community creativity: "Creativity is that celebration where people re-invent the world ... where they can be themselves and think imaginatively. ... People want to be accepted and acknowledged in their creative skills as citizens. What they are is already creative. The project is to have them recognize it."

In this spirit, the Willimantic creative community projects include several goals and benefits:

  • Using creativity and arts to engage the public in their community.
  • Providing visual beautification elements through public art to the downtown district.
  • Showcasing the creation of sustainable art and green communities.
  • Celebrating the diversity of the community -- including male and female, multi-generational, multi-ethnic, and multi-organizational.
  • Building on and complementing current arts and cultural initiatives, such as Third Thursday Willimantic Street Fest, the Cinema Project, the Willimantic Victorian Home Tour, the Windham Theatre Guild, the Romantic Willimantic Chocolate Festival,
    among many others.
  • Offering educational programs that help Windham students and adults develop and apply their creative thinking skills.

Two of the young banner artists expressed some benefits of creativity and public art: "Public art will help everyone in town imagine wonderful things," and "Our lamppost banners will make our
city feel creative. Our public art will also make our creativity shine to our town."

Additional supporters of the Windham Banner Project include Willimantic Waste/The DeVivo Family, Town of Windham, Windham Arts Center, The Home Depot, rePublicArt, and the International Centre for Creativity and Imagination.


Saturday, March 10, 2007

How can U.S. stay on top of the world?

[7 March 2007 - USA Today - Opinion] We’re no longer the economic center of the universe, as the global landscape has shifted to former Third World countries. What to do? Remain competitive through innovation, not protectionism. ... Many more corporations should develop a clear emerging-markets strategy, embed their young managers with local families (as Procter & Gamble already does), build crucial local relationships, establish international focus groups to tailor products to local tastes, and form business alliances with this new breed of companies. And our universities should focus more on creative problem solving and integrate study and work experience abroad if we want students to be comfortable with foreign languages and cultures. More

Intelligent Design

[4 March 2007 - Star Tribune - Minneapolis] On the heels of the information age, which seems to have just arrived, come suggestions that we've entered a new era, one in which creativity, design, aesthetics and the ability to forge emotional links will drive the American economy. Editorial writer Steve Berg recently discussed the trend with Thomas Fisher, dean of the University of Minnesota's newly formed College of Design, which incorporates architecture, landscape, cities, interiors, fashions and graphics into a singular effort. ... The information economy is still with us. But the paradoxical effect of the Internet is that it has made information so widely available that it holds no real economic value. Everybody can get incredible amounts of information, so there's no competitive advantage of having it. The idea of the design economy is that, for developed countries like ours, which cannot compete in a global marketplace on price or even quite often on the quality of a product, we have to compete on the basis of innovation, creativity and imagination, which takes you to design. By design, I don't mean just aesthetics but function and cultural adaptability. More

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Needing more innovation

[2 March 2007 - Times of Malta - Lawrence Zammit] One of the areas that seems to require a great deal of attention in Malta is the issue of innovation. In fact this is an area where we are being told that we are lagging behind other members of the European Union, in particular within the framework of the Lisbon Agenda (the EU strategy that is meant to increase the competitiveness of firms operating within the EU with a view to achieving sustained economic growth and employment). Within the context of the Lisbon Agenda, reference is made to research and development that takes place within the EU member states. All this may sound very strange, as I have always felt that it is more than legitimate to ask whether it is true that so little R&D takes place in this country, as is being reported. Is there really such little creativity in firms operating here? And the consequence of little R&D and little creativity leads to little innovation. Yet we pride ourselves that the father of creative thinking is Maltese. More

Toward an A+ in creativity

[20 February 2007 - Boston Globe] Judging a school by its test scores isn't a bad idea, it's just a limited one. A bill in the state Legislature would create a new measuring stick -- one that charts the chances students have to engage in creative activities. That might mean acting in the school play or being in the science fair. And as this century dawns, it should also mean engaging in multidisciplinary activities that may combine math and art or science and economics. Filed by Representative Daniel Bosley, a North Adams Democrat, the bill would set up a commission of cultural and business people as well as educators and legislative representatives to devise an index of creative and innovative education. More

innovation: from corporate buzzword to business imperative in 2007

[20 February 2007 - Weber Shandwick] According to a recently released survey by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research, the bedrock of the new "Creativity Economy" in 2007 will continue to be innovation, with 76 percent of senior executives agreeing that innovation will become more important over the next five years. The survey, titled "The Changing Face of Marketing and Communications in Today's Creativity Economy," also reveals that 78 percent of senior executives agree that innovation is important to their CEO, with most CEOs similarly responding that innovation is important to the company. More