Students display a bench they created for their school/community garden.
I was fortunate enough to attend this year’s Americans for the Arts Annual Convention in San Diego. One of the most engaging ideas that I took home with me was the relationship between innovation and impact.
We talked about how these two ideas are often assumed to go hand-in-hand and although many innovative ideas do have significant impact on large groups of people, sometimes innovation is for the sake of innovation.
One member of my table used the analogy of the space pen – how NASA spent tons of money and research developing a zero gravity pen that could write in space, which is a cool, I want one, but pencils always seemed to work just fine in the past. Was this innovative, probably, did it have a significant impact on a large group of people or was it a catalyst of great purpose, probably not.
I must admit I am a bit biased on what we termed ‘The Space Pen Theory’ because of my arts education background. We are trained to weigh much more heavily on the impact of a project than the novelty of the idea, not to say that we aren’t often able to bring those two elements together but for educational purposes, the process is often more closely examined than the product.
We deliberately tried to balance impact and innovation with the 53rd Street School Community Garden Project. Community gardens and school gardens are not super fresh ideas but the fusion of the two in a project that uses the arts to engage the entire community from the inception, brings new life to both. Read the rest of this entry »