It’s been a while

You know that you’ve neglected your blog when you get a snippy e-mail from Amazon warning you that they might delete your blog if you don’t make any new posts. Yes, it’s been a while. Those who know me know that I have an excuse. But I also have been storing up ideas to share with you for quite some time.

This semester, I am working with the theme “Creativity, Innovation and Vision” in many different ways. It happens to be our University’s common theme for the year, and since I am on the committee I am finding a lot of ways to incorporate the theme into my classes as well as my personal activities. So, I will also be working with this theme on Artini this fall.

The idea behind working with this theme has to do with the thought that there have been a number of items in the media lately discussing the need to encourage creativity, like this one.  And this.  The death of Steve Jobs last year sent many pundits into a tizzy, wondering where the next visionaries were going to come from.  As the Newsweek article put it:

“Creativity has always been prized in American society, but it’s never really been understood. While our creativity scores decline unchecked, the current national strategy for creativity consists of little more than praying for a Greek muse to drop by our houses. The problems we face now, and in the future, simply demand that we do more than just hope for inspiration to strike.”  (Po Bronson, The Creativity Crisis: Newsweek, July 2010)

My cynical self wants to say, gee, how nice of you all to start worrying about creativity and the need to think outside the box to solve problems after a decade of standardized testing, math and science drilling and No Child Except Musicians, Artists and Designers Left Behind.  But I’m glad we’re at least starting the conversation.

So while I’m tempted to concentrate on creativity education (and I’m sure we will touch on it more than once), it’s more appropriate for Artini to consider how the need for creativity, innovation and visionary thinkers affects the arts, arts organizations and arts managers.  Our first reaction might be to rejoice — finally, people will start paying attention to the arts!  But hold on there, cowboy.  We need to take a good long look at ourselves before patting ourselves on the back for being the Next Good Thing.  Does walking silently through a gallery or sitting quietly in a darkened concert hall observing the creativity of others have any relationship at all to encouraging creativity in our audiences?  And, have a few decades of hammering arts organizations with the need to plan, budget and “act like a business” kicked the creativity out of us?

We’ll get to all of these questions and more in the next couple of months.  In the meantime, I’m anxious for your thoughts.  What would you like to talk about?

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About Ellen Rosewall

I am Professor and Chair of Arts Management and author of Arts Management: Uniting Arts and Audiences in the 21st Century (Oxford University Press, 2013). I believe that arts and culture are undergoing a profound change in the 21st century, and I love talking with people about how we continue to bring arts to our communities and individuals give the brave new world of social media, technology and economic changes. Join the conversation!
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