Creativity has become the new buzzword for this generation. In the last decade, at least three major companies, Pepsi, Kia Motors and Philips have created Chief Design Officer positions in their companies. There have been provocative articles such as Is the MFA the New MBA? Creative Studies curriculums are becoming more common on the college campus. Learning to Think Differently. Buffalo State College has the oldest creative studies program starting in 1967.
Why is this? According to Wikipedia, creativity is a phenomenon whereby something new and valuable is created, a thing or idea, etc. Creativity is not something that some people happen to have and others don’t. It can be taught. It should be taught. Creativity is essentially problem solving. For an artist, he has a vision and spends a lot of time and energy figuring out how to bring it to life, no matter what his discipline. This is a valuable tool for everyone to have. This is the reason that there is a proliferation of creative programs and creative jobs in non-traditional art fields.
With its usual vigor, our generation jumps into any new idea with both feet. In New York City, parents are hiring babysitters from Sitter Studios (Where Babysitting is Truly an Art) for about $25 an hour. Not only will the artist babysit your kids but he/she will teach them their area of expertise: dance, opera, sculpting, painting and acting.
Hopefully our elementary schools will catch up. Someone at some time decided that the arts were not as important as the other disciplines. I can’t talk about the other schools in the area but the Western Springs elementary schools have one art teacher for three schools. He has no dedicated classroom. He works off a cart and is required to grade about nine hundred students. Fortunately our middle and high schools seem to be doing a better job in offering the arts. If you want to see some pretty amazing high school artists, please check out the RB High School: AP Art 2014 show at the Riverside Art Center opening tonight at 5:00 p.m.
Unlike the traditional liberal arts education that I got in the eighties, an art education does not occur in a vacuum. Your work and grade are not just between you and your professor. In art school you have an idea, you meet with your professor and get some direction. Once the project is partially finished you meet with your class and your work is critiqued. You take that input and finish the project for the final critique. Whether an art student goes on to pursue a career in the arts or not doesn’t matter. The training he receives will assist him throughout his life. What you do every day in art school is kind of like what you have to do in a real job.
Kathleen Thometz is an artist and writer. She lives with her husband, kids and doodle dogs. You can experience more about her at www.kathleenthometz.com