Monday, March 10, 2014

The Arts & Creativity Lay Claim to the Role of Innovators

More news from the STEM to STEAM movement, as research continues to extol the virtues of the arts and humanities in contemporary society. By now many of us know the role arts and design played in the rise of Steve Jobs and Apple. And more people are becoming attuned to the importance of the right-brain thinking that Daniel Pink so clearly enlightened us about in his book A Whole New Mind: Why Right Brainers Will Rule the Future. Now, writer Sarah Lewis continues the promotion of the arts with her book The RISE: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery.

With a deft approach to the role of creativity and innovation, Lewis promotes the value of the arts in school, drawing from such left-brained, STEM icons as physicist Richard Feynman. Lewis and Feynman remind us that the mathematical world is so often about a clearly defined answer. And teachers can literally correct their students "errors." It's so much harder to be effectively critical in the arts. For, artists are prone to innovation and individuality, and they will naturally find a way where their predecessors saw none. For this reason, it's important that art students begin without the assistance of CAD (computer assisted design) and technology. Beginning with pen, brush, ink, paint, paper, and canvas is real the true innovation and creation comes.

And there is more than just aesthetic value in the arts, as Steve Jobs reminded us. In fact, as Sunil Iyengar points out in "Who Knew? Arts Education Fuels the Economy," there is great socioeconomic value in the arts.  Iyengar and colleague Ayanna Hudson at the National Endowment for the Arts articulate a solid financial argument for investment in arts education. The return is every bit as significant as a promotion of STEM skills.

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