Imagination Conversation Report: Ringling College of Art and Design, Florida

Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) is proud to note that four Imagination Conversations have taken place since October, the last of which happened on Monday, November 7, in Florida. Ringling College of Art and Design hosted the Conversation, subtitled “A Start-Up,” and plans to hold more in the future.

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Imagination Conversation Report: Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, Virginia

The Virginia Imagination Conversation, hosted by the Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, took place on October 19, 2011, at its Center for Education in Vienna, VA. Wolf Trap is one of several organizations currently working with Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) to plan a policy meeting with the U.S. Department of Education that will happen in early 2012 in Washington, D.C., so we were especially eager to see the results of this event.

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Imagination Conversation Report: Flynn Center for the Performing Arts, Vermont

Image by Silik*

The Vermont Imagination Conversation—one of three Conversations held around the country this month!—took place on October 14, 2011, at FlynnSpace, part of the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts in Burlington.

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Imagination Conversation Report: Southern Utah University, Utah

Image by Asher Swan

The first Utah Imagination Conversation, hosted by Southern Utah University (SUU), took place on August 16, 2011, in Cedar City. Held as a Faculty Convocation, it coincided with the launch of SUU’s Center for Creativity and Innovation. The Cedar City Daily News reported on the gathering.

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Imagination Conversation Report: Metropolitan Group, Oregon


The Oregon Imagination Conversation, hosted by Metropolitan Group, took place on October 4, 2011, at the Ziba Auditorium in Portland. Metropolitan Group, an agency that provides strategic and creative services to social purpose organizations, actually helped Lincoln Center Institute (LCI) design the national Imagination Conversations initiative—work for which we remain very grateful.

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Imagination Conversation Report: The Meridian Institute, Indiana

Here’s another in our series of posts about previous Imagination Conversations. Over the course of the project, we’ve seen that a Conversation can be, among many other things, a great way to bring together a cross section of influential figures from a given state—people whose paths might not ordinarily intersect—to exchange imaginative ideas and reach conclusions that have statewide impact. The Indiana event I report on below was just such a unifying and action-oriented occasion. It may serve as an instructive model for anyone interested in using a Conversation as a rallying point for social or economic advancement at the state level.

The Imagine Indiana Leadership Summit, hosted by The Meridian Institute, happened on October 12 at the Indianapolis Museum of Art’s (IMA) Tobias Theater. Its objective was “to advance policy recommendations…to increase Indiana’s and America’s capacity for innovation” while highlighting culture’s role as a source of innovation. A steering committee made up of heads of state cultural, educational, and economic organizations—such as the Indiana Arts Commission and the Indy Partnership—prepared an action agenda over the course of six months. This agenda was presented, refined, and voted on at the well-attended gathering; the results are being delivered to key figures in the state for implementation. In addition to keynote presentations by Council on Competitiveness President and CEO Deborah Wince-Smith and IMA Director and CEO Maxwell Anderson, three panels—on culture, education, and economics, respectively—occurred during the day.

Meridian Institute President and CEO Dr. Scott Massey remarks, “Imagine Indiana engaged a cross section of the state’s top leadership, increased awareness of the importance of culture, and led to the creation of an innovation action agenda that can improve the state’s future.” Its many diverse recommendations include: depreciating Indiana students’ college tuition if they remain in the state to work there; using the alumni networks of Indiana universities to foster business alliances among former students; and including cultural leaders in Indiana’s economic and educational strategy organizations.

View the day’s proceedings on The Meridian Institute’s YouTube channel.

More Imagination Conversation Reports will appear soon!

Click here to view all Imagination Conversation Reports.

Imagination Conversation Report: Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio

Here’s another in our series of posts about previous Imagination Conversations. Ohio is one state that has taken up the concept and really run with it. Back in the spring of 2009, I made a presentation to educators and arts organizations there. This led to a series of brown bag lunch panels in which Ohio Department of Education (ODE) curriculum, communications, and policy directors discussed the role of imagination in their own work and teaching, with their staffs joining in as audience members. Since then, ODE, the Ohio Arts Council, and the Columbus Museum of Art (CMA) have together hosted three more Conversations. The first took place in Columbus on December 5, 2009, and the second was held at Oberlin College on May 15, 2010, as part of the OhioDance Festival. As for the third:

The October 14 Ohio Imagination Conversation addressed the policy goals of the overall initiative by focusing on American education reform. Hosted by CMA, which offered attendees a sneak peek of its new Center of Creativity, the event boasted a roster of prominent panelists: Antwone Fisher, writer, speaker, and subject of Denzel Washington’s 2002 directorial debut; Michael Weiss, President and CEO of clothing retailer Express, Inc.; and fashion designer and Project Runway finalist Althea Harper, among others. Dr. Steven Seidel, director of the Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Arts in Education Program, moderated. What made the day’s structure unique was the public response to the panel by Peter Cunningham, assistant secretary for communications and outreach in the U.S. Department of Education, who discussed how imagination, creativity, and innovation relate to the 21st-century learning environments President Obama wants to develop.

CMA Director of Education Cindy Foley says, “The panel was almost poetic in the way they wove their viewpoints together.” Commenting on Cunningham’s mention of the possibility that 50% of American teachers will retire in the next decade, Foley adds, “The pressure is on the next generation of teachers to foster the creativity our children will need to succeed.”

View the day’s proceedings on CMA’s YouTube channel.

More Imagination Conversation Reports will appear soon!

Click here to view all Imagination Conversation Reports.

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