Nurturing Creativity

A Rose From a New Perspective

Can we, or should we, teach and nurture creativity? 

"To create" simply means to bring something into being.  To be “creative”, however, means to develop something original and not necessarily from a logical thought process but more of a joining of many concepts. “Something resulting from originality of thought, expression and imagination. The ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns, relationships and the like and to create meaningful new ideas, forms, methods and interpretations.” (Random House Dictionary)

The creative process applies to not only art, but to all disciplines.  Art education that enhances the creative process proves the importance of not only understanding the world that we live in, but creating solutions for that future world. Where would our world be without creative thinkers?  There would be no electricity, no telephone, and certainly no airplanes. Steve Jobs would never have taken the Apple products to the lengths he has, and our numerous medical cures took people who thought “outside the box” for solutions.  In fact, it is my bold theory that we owe our quality of life to creative thinkers.  

Our society needs creative thinkers, and art is a place where creativity is born.  It is unfortunate to me when I hear adults and students alike say they believe an artist qualifies as someone who can render an exact likeness of an image or object.  While it is true, value can be found in learning to master art skills such as chiaroscuro through replication, there is however no originality in doing this. The artists’ voice is not being heard; and creative thinking is not happening.    Is it possible then to teach someone to think creatively, like Steve Jobs and Leonardo da Vinci? Can we help children grow to think like the great masters of the past; to develop an artistic voice? 

I believe so. 

Creativity happens when students are left to explore, experiment, and pass judgment.  Often in art class students will learn a new skill or art concept and take time to explore with that medium, learning the basic skills needed through guided learning and imitating skills from a master artist.  When students become comfortable with the medium, and they have basic skills, experimentation should be encouraged.  Pushing boundaries will leave room for creative thinking; thereby students begin to see the world in a new way.  Finally, students then will be able to confidentially pass judgment on how the materials can be used and will construct art that demonstrates their new way of thinking.  Art students would be encouraged to discover a different vantage point, a unique way to handle an art medium, or thinking outside of the box with the subject they create.  Originality stems from confidence with the basics.  Yet, while teaching color, line, value, form, shape, and the rest of the elements and principals are import aspects of art, teaching creativity is essential to art.

Vincent van Gogh took ordinary subjects and made them extraordinary. He made an everyday poor man’s work boots have character, and fill with life. He took the sunflower and obsessively painted it with such powerful brushstrokes it appeared alive on canvas. Georgia O’Keefe painted seemingly overlooked and taken for granted flowers but enlarged them to greatness while exploring unique vantage points. I want our children to see the world from a new perspective; to think outside the box and transcend traditional thinking. 

I want our students to become creative thinkers that will take this world to the places they dared to dream about. 

After all, without creativity, what do we really have left? 

*Artsylori; Elementary Art Educator

A Tree from a New Perspective

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