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Henry has been presenting some provocative thoughts and he may me
challenging how some of us think. His questions are tough ones.
> Right now this post is an exercise in generating ideas. The
> real-life problem? How to teach creativity.
> We already seem to have some decent curricula BUT they don't seem
> to always work for everyone--me for example. One simple way to
> learn how to generate ideas is to work on your problems, the
> things that bother you in your life and even in the world.
Those of you who have incorporated the National Standards for Art into your
curriculum are familiar with Standard 3: ... choose and evaluate a range
of subject matter, symbols and ideas to be expressed in visual terms;
examine how art is used to convey meaning and experiences and to explore
aspects of humanity; integrate visual concepts with content to communicate
The student will select subject matter, themes and symbols.
I take this standard very seriously. This is where I have to facilitate and
help them figure out how to get the ideas, but the ideas have to be theirs.
It is difficult. Risk taking is about self esteem, not creativity. How many
times have we ourselves been afraid to show something we did, or even
complete it for fear of rejection.
I spend time on journal keeping, brainstorming, and just looking. I have
thousands of dollars worth of art and photo books and magazines in my room.
The photo students look and look and glean ideas. The art students won't.
The art students think that ideas come from some magical place in their
heads and that they can't get ideas from something someone else has done.
So once in a while I ask them to go through the magazines and, for instance,
find 3 art works they really like and 3 they don't and analyze what it is
they are attracted to or not. Or anytime they want, they are free to go
through the magazines any rip out any image that they make some connection
to. (This year the library gave me some old Venture magazines from the
60's. Boy did they have fun with those images.)
I don't know, I find the kids today have a really difficult time admitting
that they care about anything. What I can do, is provide a place where no
idea is too outrageous, where any idea can be pursued in a meaningful way,
and to take a chance.
I spend a lot of time teaching history. What was happening socially,
economically, politically, technologically, that caused the artist to
respond the way he/she did.
On the first day of class I give everyone a copy of an ad I cut from a
magazine a few years ago. It's from the New York Foundation for the Arts:
If Imagination and Creativity Alone Made Art, We Could All Be Artists
The gist of it is about the intent of the process. "It takes an awesome
imagination, a gifted talent, an original mind and consuming desire to
overcome the seduction of technique, materials or craft - to make art....
What a remarkable process creating is--giving back more, the more we risk."
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sat Jul 01 2000 - 07:02:55 PDT