Wednesday, July 22, 2009


It’s been ridiculously long since my last post. Back in the saddle!

There was a great piece in The Nation in May by Jeff Chang called “The Creativity Stimulus”. He writes about the arts and culture in the economic recovery. I wasn’t going to write about this now since it came out in May but this morning I saw that Americans are discouraged about the state of the economic recovery. So I thought this might still be timely. Here is a piece of Chang’s article that hit home for me.

Creativity can be a powerful form of organizing communities from the bottom up. The economic crisis gives us a change to rethink the role of creativity in making a vibrant economy and civil society. Artists as well as community organizers cultivate new forms of knowledge and consciousness. One of the unsung stories of the past twenty-five years is how both have used creativity to inspire community development and renewal. Creativity has become the glue of social cohesion in times of turmoil.

I love that last line. “Creativity has become the glue of social cohesion in times of turmoil.” This is such an important reminder for those of us who work in schools. These are indeed times of turmoil and children are not exempt. Try as we might as adults, we have a very difficult time shielding children from our stress. And as many schools will continue to be woefully underfunded this fall, children will be impacted directly by our adult stressors.

The funding in public education is pretty bleak at the moment. Which is all the more reason why we have a responsibility to promote creativity in schools. To paraphrase an old saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get creative.” In our ethical responsibilities to students, we can’t a little thing like underfunding get in our way. It is unlikely arts education will be well funded anytime soon but, as Chang suggests, we can be rich in what we cultivate in our schools and communities.

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