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

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