Christine Harris

You see more and more reports indicating that creativity is a critical issue facing our world — and that there is a serious lack of it throughout the business environment.

No wonder we celebrate and even venerate the life of Steve Jobs because he demonstrated a heart and soul connection to his personal creativity that we don’t see too many other places, and many of us feel is missing within our own lives.

So — you would think with all of this concern about our ‘creative capital’ we would be increasing our commitment to arts education, not pulling further away from it, right? What is wrong with this picture?

I think we have both a communication issue as well as an outcomes issue.

First, the  communication issue is that despite decades of research showing the positive personal and academic impact of arts education, we haven’t moved the needle in terms of school curriculum strategy, educational budgets, or civic and corporate commitment. So, let’s stop using the same language because no one has been seriously listening for years.

Second, the arts at their core are about expressing and experiencing creativity. Creativity is something the business community is crying out for, but instead of talking about the arts building creativity skills we focus on not eliminating the arts curriculum specialists.

We need to start talking about developing the creative skill set of students as a workforce development outcome of these arts experiences and stop isolating the study of the arts, no matter how intrinsically valuable we believe they are. The conversation has moved on and now so must we.

As part of a local grant exploring reframing arts education as creative education, I am talking with senior HR professionals on how and where they include looking for creativity skills in their talent entry and talent development. To a person, they do look for it upon entry and they do proactively develop it in their leadership programs. Now, having said that, they have NOT connected experience in the arts as an indicator of a creative skill set — it’s not on their radar screen.

Here is the opportunity — connecting artistic experiences with the development and assessment of creativity skills will provide a pathway to the arts making a serious contribution to enhancing the creativity of tomorrow’s talent.

If we want to optimize our innovation potential, we need to maximize our community’s creative capital and ignite all of our imaginations. The arts are incredibly well positioned to make a significant contribution to bringing more creativity into the workforce if we are willing to reframe our conversation.

Let’s start that new dialogue now.

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One Response to “Linking Creative Education & Talent Development”

  1. I think the mis-allignment you mention is also a lack of power by the arts community. Basically, we have none. The business schools and law schools that train our professionals and the business media which follow them and the regulators which are supposed to watch over them are bought and paid for. The question I’ve been asking artists and creative professionals for 20 years is do we share values across disciplines and geography that would act as filters and triggers for civic engagement. Before Richard Florida wrote “The Rise of the Creative Class” I’ve been asking “Is there a creative class consciousness”? How it relates to this Blog Salon is this – I’m not about having a corrupt and reckless business sector acting as vampires and leeching the best of the arts community and creative mindsets and using them to further muck up the planet. No, I think it’s quite the reverse – the business arena needs to adopt the values and mindesets of the arts in order to survive and NOT destroy the planet.

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The pARTnership Movement is a new initiative from Americans for the Arts that provides businesses and arts organizations with the resources they need to make meaningful collaborations; partnerships that not only support a healthy, creative and artistic community, but that also give businesses a competitive advantage.
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