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May 2014 - Creativity

Brittany is a professional dancer who attended Tisch School of Performing Arts at NYU, founded the Sugar Space, and now she serves on the Promise Arts and Community Council, where she shares her expertise in audience development, artistic venue needs, and artist databases (to name a few). She is passionate about supporting artists, and being an artist herself, she is deeply rooted in the council's mission "to unite the community through the arts." She advocates for students of the arts as well as creating opportunities for experiential learning. Brittany is a huge asset to the arts scene in South Salt Lake Brittany is a professional dancer who attended Tisch School of Performing Arts at NYU, founded the Sugar Space, and now she serves on the Promise Arts and Community Council, where she shares her expertise in audience development, artistic venue needs, and artist databases (to name a few). She is passionate about supporting artists, and being an artist herself, she is deeply rooted in the council's mission "to unite the community through the arts." She advocates for students of the arts as well as creating opportunities for experiential learning. Brittany is a huge asset to the arts scene in South Salt Lake

Creativity

Definition

To think in new ways; using your imagination

Quotes

"The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." -Sylvia Plath

"Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep." -Scott Adams

"You can't use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have." -Maya Angelou

"What keeps life fascinating is the constant creativity of the soul." -Deepak Chopra

"There is creative reading as well as creative writing." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Discussion

Ways to teach creativity to children:

One can spark kids' creativity by encouraging curiosity, using common everyday experiences to inspire new ideas, building confidence, and utilizing art to spark conversations.


Encourage curiosity. Ask questions.

Kids are naturally curious, and many instinctively ask questions. Children often ask better questions than adults. Listen and build on their curiosity. Continue to inspire imagination with simple questions, while encouraging them to think of the answers or solutions. Ask children to imagine and wonder, "What if?" "What if you could have a dinosaur as a pet?" "What if we took a vacation on another planet?"

Weave creativity into everyday experiences.

Creativity can happen everywhere. Use common everyday experiences to teach creativity – in the car, on a walk, or when you're cooking together. Bring crayons and paper along when you go out to eat. Encourage your children to draw a story about a restaurant on Mars and share it while you're waiting.

Build confidence.

When children are encouraged to look at things in many ways and believe in their ideas, it gives them the confidence to express what they're thinking. Encourage children to take the lead in coming up with new ideas. If they ask you to "make it for them," reply that you'd love to see what they create. Children's fresh and unique styles should be valued. Use any moment as a teachable opportunity to stretch children's thinking and encourage their creative expression.

Art sparks communication

Art helps children communicate ideas. Children's drawings are their first written communication years before they can read or write. Art opens the window into what your children are thinking and feeling. Talk about what you observe in your children's art as they draw and paint. Let your child tell you the story of their art. "Tell me about your drawing?" is a perfect question to spark conversation.

You can also help your children become creative, confident, and competent learners through the following:

Setting youth up for Success

• Provide art materials and art projects
• Set up an art center in your home
• Talk with kids about their art
• Encourage kids to be problem solvers

Speaking to Young Artists

Talk with children about art. The art they are creating and the art all around them. Notice the way art is used in everyday life and our appreciation for the awesome natural beauty found everywhere!

"Look what I made!"

When children say, "Look what I made!" show your interest. Encourage them to describe how they created their art. Children are eager to show adults their creations. How can you respond so they are motivated to explore the arts further?

• Remember to reflect their enthusiasm.
• Take their work seriously!
• Encourage children to be confident about their art.
• Inspire them to improve their skills with practice.
• Encourage them to try new ideas and different approaches.

Their imaginations will soar. Positive, encouraging responses will help artists of all ages feel they are creative thinkers and capable doers. Usually just one positive comment or open-ended question will open up a fascinating conversation.

Conversation Starters

Here are some great "discussion starters" that will encourage children to open up. Try some of these statements and questions and get that conversation going:

Show appreciation:

"Thank you for showing me your creation." "I'm so glad you want to share your art with me."

Demonstrate genuine enthusiasm:

"What an imaginative idea!" "You're starting to use colored pencils in a different way than before!"

Describe what you see (artistic qualities):

"It looks like you used lots of red here, and a little blue in the bottom corner." "The lines you drew move all around the page." "This reminds me of (another artist's style or a child's earlier work)." Especially with young children, avoid asking "What is it?" Their creation may be an experiment in pattern or color, and not a picture of the family dog!

Ask how the child achieved an artistic effect:

"I'm wondering how you got these little pieces of clay to stick out like that." "Please explain to me what you did."

Dig a little deeper:

"Tell me more about what you've done." "I'm curious how you got this idea."

Comment on how the child worked:

"I saw you concentrating on your painting." "You had a smile on your face the whole time you were drawing!"

Sometimes, suggest extensions (after showing support and hearing the child's explanations):

"I wonder what would happen if you tried..."

An encouraging adult can make a world of difference. Support your children's innate desire to learn and to express ideas. Be a mentor and a role model. Help children develop to their full potential.

Creativity might be defined as putting things together in novel ways, or seeing the world, or a given problem, with fresh eyes. We can help children gain the concentration, competence, perseverance, and optimism necessary to succeed in creative pursuits.

Books

Books to share with your children:

Willow by Denise Brennan-Nelson

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Fur and Feathers by Janet Halfmann

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

When Stella Was Very, Very Small by Marie-Louise Gay

Beautiful Oops! by Barney Saltzberg

Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco

Workplace

Creativity in the Workplace

5 Ways to Boost Creativity in the Workplace

Much research has been conducted to understand how brands can boost creativity in the workplace. According to researcher Yuri Martens, the performance of today's brands is becoming increasingly dependent on its ability to be creative; thus, stimulating employee creativity is one of the major focuses of any company. And while no single method is guaranteed to work all the time, there are still actions an organization can take to transform its culture into one of free thinking and innovation. Here are 5 tips on how to boost creativity in the workplace:

1) Surround the Office With Happy Colors & Images.

An abundance of charts and grids can lead to restricted thinking as they create the appearance and feeling of structure and rules, leading to closed minds. To encourage employees to think freely, put up visually appealing images that inspire mental clarity and happy thoughts, for example, images of nature. Color also plays a significant role in creativity. Light blue boosts mental clarity and stimulates the mind; in contrast, red can spark aggression and anxiety and exacerbate negative feelings among workers, says a research report by InformeDesign. Red can also make employees pay more attention to minute details rather than the "bigger picture" -- studies show that a balance of both is conducive to higher levels of creativity.

2) Brainstorm the Right Way.

While brainstorming has long been deemed an essential part of idea generation, many organizations conduct brainstorming sessions in a way that actually decreases creative output. Brainstorming meetings often suppress original thinking and can actually make each individual less creative in the process. Why? Popular belief holds that being non-critical of group members' ideas allows ideas to flow more freely; however, as author Jonah Lehrer points out, brainstorming in this way fails precisely because criticism and debate are necessary to generate new ideas. Without a candid discussion of mistakes – why a particular idea just won't work -- employees are less likely to come up with innovative alternatives because every single idea is considered a good one. Psychologist Charlan Nemeth explains that proper criticism encourages more creativity as members feel the desire to want to improve upon someone else's idea. In the absence of criticism, everyone is "right" and there is thus no need to push your own creativity to consider unexplored possibilities.

3) Encourage Interaction & Conversation.

As Trend Hunter previously discussed, augmenting interaction and conversation in the work environment can lead to increased innovation. This is because the free sharing of knowledge, often through unstructured and unfocused conversations, can lead employees to come up with more creative ideas and solutions. Change your office's physical setup so that there are less private workspaces and more central meeting locations where people can relax and chat freely with one another. Install a coffee bar or lounge within your company so that workers have a "third place" -- an interactive area that is neither the home nor the work desk -- where diverse employees can talk freely and enjoy their conversations. Such an environment has worked for Pixar, where the casual conversations and random encounters at the company's lounges and bars often lead to new and creative ideas.

4) Allow Workers to Play.

While giving your employees time to 'play' seems counter-productive, studies have revealed that reduced stress as a result of playing can lead to more ideas, enhanced creativity and increased innovation. Companies like Google, Facebook, LEGO, Zynga and more are infusing their office environments with things like slides, interior gardens, writeable walls, pool tables and other game-like elements. Playtime might simply mean giving employees private time and a quiet space to doodle on a blank notepad -- anything that helps them relax and clear their minds. In addition to lightening the mood at the office, giving workers time to play also encourages them to interact with their co-workers -- which, as we discussed previously, can enhance creative thinking and problem-solving.

5) Mix Employees of Different Experience & Backgrounds.

The importance of workplace diversity cannot be understated; an environment filled with people from different cultures, experience levels and specialties enhances creativity because the more diverse a group's knowledge and beliefs are, the more diverse ideas and creative solutions will arise. When an organization puts similar people of the same background, culture and function together, these people ultimately generate the same ideas because they think the same. Although people naturally want to work with their friends, such a situation means a hampering of creativity because friends, who have similar preferences and perspectives, are likely to come up with the same solutions to the same problems.


Vong, K. (2012, August 3). 5 Ways to Boost Creativity in the Workplace. Trend Reports. Retrieved from: http://www.trendreports.com/article/boost-creativity-in-the-workplace