Where creativity begins

Make no mistake about it, creativity is a centerpiece of the American culture, more specifically, American capitalism. Capitalism by definition means destroy that which does not work or no longer works, and create something that does work. One of the easiest and most effective ways to teach children to be creative is to teach them art. They know that in Stevens Point, Wisconsin. Visit the city's "Art in the Park" to see what we mean.

September 20, 2005

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Mary Lou Cook, an American community activist, calligrapher and author, has written:

"Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun."

Joseph Chilton Pierce, a well-known author focused on intelligence, creativity and learning, has said this:
"To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong."

Dorye Roettger, an American author and speaker noted this back in 1932:

"There are no problems - only opportunities to be creative."

In his book Affirmations for Artists, Eric Maisel said this:

"Creativity requires introspection, self-examination, and a willingness to take risks."

Creativity is the centerpiece of the "American culture", and more specifically, American capitalism. Capitalism by definition means destroy that which does not work or no longer works, and create something that does work. This will most certainly have to happen following the New Orleans disaster: the city has been destroyed, now something new and different will have to be created, and we need creative, innovative minds working this problem to be sure.

One of the easiest and most effective ways to teach children to be creative is to teach them art. They know that in Stevens Point, Wisconsin.

RiverView

On September 17, 2005, the town's Pfiffner Park on the shore of the Wisconsin River held the 36th annual "Art in the Park" event.

Carlos Gieseken, writing "Art in the Park set for Saturday" for the
Stevens Point Journal, described the event this way:

"Children will be able to paint, work with wood and have their faces painted while adults will have the opportunity to shop at 75 craft booths."

Patti Adamski organized the event. We were there.

FleaMarket

Of course, we walked the walk looking at all the craft booths, but the areas that caught our attention were the Cardboard City and the face-painting and clay-making areas.

The Cardboard City is an annual endeavor organized by the Steven Point Noon Optimists.

PaintSmockArea

They hand out smocks and paint brushes, set up large boxes, build a house, and then they give the kids paint and brushes and tell them to go to it. Get 'er done, "paint the town."

The kids took this work very seriously, and several were downright industrious about it, both very good signs. You don't have to tell them to "think outside the box!" They are already there, young enough that they are not inhibited by preconceived notions.

Here's what the youngsters came up with. What grabs your eyes? The colors struck us. Oh, by the way, once finished on the outside, the kids went inside to work.

CityA

CityB

CityC

CityD

There's a young girl working inside this one. We'll show you.

CityE

We had a tough job getting this shot of this artist at work inside that box. We are peering through a window in the box, but we could not get too close, fearing we would disturb her, and we could not be too far because it was dark inside and bright outside, a situation which could prevent a decent photo. It turns out we got pretty darn close, and she never knew we were there. She was so into her work that nothing was going to disturb her. Isn't this wonderful! She'll probably end up as a corporate CEO one day.

CityF

This house is very cleverly done. It was built with cardboard tubes left over once carpets are unrolled and installed. They are glued together in log-cabin form and the construct is very sturdy. The young man you see working on the corner took his job very seriously. We got him in two more shots, closer up.

CityG

CityH

And a fine looking young man he is. We had some difficulty getting him to turn around and let us see him, but he finally took a moment out!

Let's have a little fun with these next three photos.

CityK

Here's the doorway to the house. If you look carefully, you can see someone working inside, in a crouch.

CityJ

Yes indeed, isolating the inside from the rest of the photo, there sure is someone in there working. We played around with the light and color levels a bit, and look who we found!

CityI

Wha-la! Not a perfect rendition, but we found a worker crouched down and working on the wall, pig tails and all!

Now let's move over to two other work areas, face painting and the clay.

FacePaintA

She's already done business over at the face paint area, and now she's busy at the clay area. Concentration and creative wheels in motion are written all over her face. This is no foolin' around.

FacePaintB

This young lady is over at the face paint area and it looks to us like she's contemplating her next creative move. The photographer is an ex-GI, and is compelled to focus your attention on her right arm 'cause she "Painted Proud!"

ClayA

Piece of clay in the left hand, right hand clutched, brain fully engaged in the next creative piece of work.

ClayB

Here's the brain trust over at the clay table.

This is fun, but it is also very important to our nation's future. Greg Stevens, James Burley and Richard Divine wrote an article published by the September 1999 edition of Journal of Product Innovation Management, entitled, "Creativity Business Discipline = Higher Profits Faster from New Product Development." In this article, they say the following:

"A study was conducted of 69 analysts evaluating 267 early-stage new product development (NPD) projects in a major global chemical company over a 10-year time span. Positive correlations were found between profits resulting from NPD project analyses and the degree of creativity of the analysts evaluating those projects.

"NPD requires breakthrough creativity because the first ideas for commercialization are almost never commercial until they have been substantially revised through a thought process involving branching. It is therefore most productive to preselect innovative, creative people for the early stages of NPD, and then teach this group the business discipline required in stage-gate NPD processes.

"The results show that by utilizing these principles, both the overall speed and productivity of typical NPD processes can be increased approximately nine-fold, or nearly an order of magnitude when compared to today's typical linear stage-gate processes."

If your school is not teaching art, take action to get it into the curriculum. If it is teaching art as an elective, think about making it mandatory.