This I Believe….

June 13, 2010 in Blog by Willa Taylor

I believe that creativity is an essential skill for all young people in the 21st century. Creative skills will certainly produce new symphonies and plays and films. But they will also be essential to solving the dilemmas of climate change, and eradicating disease and famine; they will drive innovation and technology across the globe, as well as tackling more local issues including improving CTA. They will promote growth in new industries and generate social benefits including improved learning outcomes and greater appreciation and respect for others.

Every school, every teacher and every arts institution has a key role in fostering creativity in students. Creativity should be developed across all areas of the school curriculum, from science and math and technology, to the humanities and the arts. This is why our Student Subscription Series is built around the core of teacher professional development. We are committed to providing teachers with the skills and tools they need to open the imaginations of their students. Arts learning – both in and out of school – opens the door to a lifetime of experiences that most young people will miss if they don’t step through that door during the school years.

And their passage through that doorway opens up learning experiences that are deeply valued by nearly everyone – including learning about captivating and engaging creative experience; sharing meaning with and from the diversity of voices that make up this country and our global society.

The critically important role of the arts in school, as in life, is to enable us to see the world and the human condition differently, and in seeing the world through a particular work of art, to see a truth we might not have understood before.

Artists raise questions and compel us to think. The best of playwrights for example, have a certain power of observation that can be a remarkable force for change — and jolt us out of complacency.
This is perhaps why art is revered and reviled; it disturbs the peace and stirs passions; it forces us to see things differently and gives agency to speak truth to power.

Writing a play, making a puppet, or working as an ensemble – these things force us to think in alternative ways, to hold different assumptions and to entertain different and often more instructive ways of making connections and ways of seeing.
Being able to think in different ways and to sense the possibilities will inspire the poet, the playwright, the composer, and the economist, the physicist, and the political scientist.

Through our work with students and teachers, we have a unique opportunity to use the lens of theater to inspire a new dialogue and a different discussion. Through the works of masters like ONeill and Nottage and Shakespeare, we can encourage and support a new generation of writers and actors and designers who see the world not through the 20th century dictates of our balkanized past but with the creative insight that a chorus of diverse voices inspires.