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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