CMA Blog

The Creativity Crisis

The July 10 Newsweek article, The Creativity Crisis outlined clearly whatt many of us in education/the arts knew was inevitable.  In essence, the Torrance Creativity Test—the gold standard in creativity assessment and taken by millions worldwide—is showing that since 1990, American creativity scores have been falling.  Intelligence (IQ) and creativity scores had kept pace with each other in America for generations, but in the last 20 years, creativity scores have fallen off track while intelligence scores continue to increase.  This decline is especially significant for K-6 grade children, for whom the results are interpreted as “most serious.”

Why is this catastrophic?  The authors of the article do a spectacular job of drawing us a picture of the impact, and I encourage you to read the full text.

When I read the article, I was struck by the statement that the arts don’t “own” creativity.  I absolutely agree with this.  No one discipline owns creativity!  But on the flip side, those of us in the arts must communicate the ways that quality art education CAN generate creative thinkers.

All of us, including those in the arts are also guilty of not INSISTING on the skills necessary for creativity within our schools, businesses and families.  We can no longer blame TV and video games that suck our children away from creative activities nor can we sit back and watch our schools systematically move further and further away from the creative development of our students.

On a good note, Ohio has the potential to change the way creativity is fostered throughout Ohio’s schools.  Last June in State House Bill 1, two provisions were passed that make way creative developments in our schools. One provision, the Harmon Commission, will recognize creative learning environments. The other provision will bring about the development of a Center for Creativity and Innovation in the State Department of Education. Ohio is the only state to include creativity in current legislation.

But the schools cannot accomplish this alone.  Informal learning environments, like the Columbus Museum of Art, must play a critical role in fostering and championing creativity. To do so…

  1. We must shift public opinion away from narrow stereotypes of creativity. Artists embody a way of thinking that needs to be nurtured in all children and adults.
  2. The CMA will celebrate and reward the unconventional teachers and schools that despite challenges continue to foster risk taking, questioning, curiosity and imagination in their schools.
  3. Museum programs will model creative learning for our families and schools. We must communicate how we think about imagination, critical thinking and innovation in everything we do.

The Columbus Museum of Art values creativity (it is one of our 5 Core Values.)  In January of 2011 the museum will open an 18,000 square foot Center for Creativity to address the bullets above.  We believe one institution can make a difference. We must.

Cindy Meyers Foley
Director of Education

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2 Responses to The Creativity Crisis

  1. Artie Isaac says:

    YES: Our schools — and our beloved Museum (thank you, Cindy!) — are essential resources.

    AND: institutions cannot do it alone. Our lives must also be filled with people living creatively.

    Young people seek creative role models. Each of us must ask: “Am I a creative role model?”

    What to do? Get thee to the Museum.

    And buy a copy of “The Artist’s Way” and get to work.

  2. Rosalie M.Martin says:

    As an artist, I feel creativity is an essential part of life. Without the freedom to try something new & exciting we become robots.

    One of the high points in my year came recently when I brought my Grandson to the museum to see your Chihully exhibit. The look on his face when he came around a corner & discovered the exhibit was priceless! After seeing Chihully’s work at the Conservatory, Camden thought his art was pretty cool. This was an opportunity to see it up close and in a more personal manner.

    Camden is 9yrs old, and very creative -
    “a budding artist”. Seeing art through the eyes of a nine year old is wonderful! I will be so “Happy” when your renovations are complete so we can,again, have access to the whole art experience. I want him to see how creative people from all over the world have been.

    Inspiration & creativity thrive in an atmosphere like the museum; so, yes I believe creativity is essential for everyone. In this fast paced world, let’s encourage harmony through creativity.

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