Today I had the honor of addressing the Arts School Network’s annual conference, held this year in Florida. (Alas, I spoke via Skype, so I wasn’t able to enjoy the Sunshine State’s weather.) ASN is a professional association of arts school leaders, with over 300 members worldwide, so this was a great opportunity for me to engage with a large gathering of arts educators. The organization’s executive director, Kristy Callaway, asked me to talk about Lincoln Center Institute’s (LCI’s) imagination initiatives.
My message to the membership of ASN had to do with changing the arts education discussion. LCI has tried to jumpstart this process in recent years by launching the Imagination Conversations and hosting America’s Imagination Summit last July. The idea is to focus on imagination, creativity, and innovation (ICI). These are a vital necessity in all sectors of 21st-century society, so it follows that they must be taught in schools. The arts are a matchless generator of these skills, and should be presented as such. Statements in favor of art for art’s sake may very well be valid, but they simply aren’t going to earn us the support and attention we deserve.
I was gratified by the audience’s interest in this perspective, demonstrated by their thoughtful questions and comments. For instance, one attendee remarked on the need for arts advocates to speak of creativity in more concrete and vivid terms; abstract arguments are much less likely to persuade people. I agree.
The conversation today was moderated by Larry Thompson, president of Ringling College of Art and Design, which put together an Imagination Conversation in Florida on November 7. Attendees then participated in a working lunch to share the actions they have taken, and will take, to promote the ICI agenda within their own spheres of influence.
In addition to Kristy and Larry, I’d like to appreciatively mention Craig Collins, principal of Harrison School for the Arts and 2nd vice president of ASN, at whose institution this morning’s session was held.
Filed under: News Bulletin Tagged: | America's Imagination Summit, arts education, arts schools, Arts Schools Network, Craig Collins, creativity, Florida Imagination Conversation, Harrison School for the Arts, imagination, imagination conversations, innovation, Kristy Callaway, Larry Thompson, LCI, Lincoln Center Institute, Ringling College of Art and Design