There's a creativity crisis today. Let's do something about it!
Simply put, our future depends on our ability to innovate. The creative capacity of our young students will determine whether our country - and indeed our world - flourishes or not. All around us are challenges that demand creative solutions; from addressing climate change to delivering healthcare.
In a 2010 survey of 1,500 chief executives conducted by IBM’s Institute for Business Value, CEOs identified “creativity” as the most important leadership competency for the successful enterprise of the future. Research also demonstrates a strong connection between childhood creativity and creative output as an adult. For example, a long-term analysis of childhood creativity, as measured by the Torrance standard assessment, showed a correlation to lifetime creative accomplishment that is three times stronger for childhood creativity than for childhood I.Q.
However, the creativity of our country’s children is not being sufficiently nurtured and encouraged. A 2011 study carried out by The College of William & Mary indicated that creativity scores, based on the Torrance assessment index, have been steadily declining. The research suggests that the decline is particularly serious for younger children.
At the same time, budgets for arts programs across the country are experiencing deep cuts. The diminishing focus on the arts is to due to a combination of policies such as the No Child Left Behind Act, which emphasizes standardized assessments; a trend toward narrower school curricula; and the lingering effects of the recession. The reduced class time for arts is also caused by a perception that arts, while nice to have, are not essential.
The arts are, in fact, essential for what we as a nation desire for our children: academic achievement, social engagement, and innovative thinking. According to a number of nationally recognized studies, participation in the arts improves problem-solving abilities and correlates to higher test scores. For example, a UCLA study showed that low-income children who participated in arts education had higher grades and higher attendance records than their peers who did not participate. Researchers who have explored the impact of arts activities on intelligence have found that children who participate in arts develop improved attention and focus, which then leads to expanded cognitive ability. Studies have also shown that arts-engaged children benefit from increased motivation and cooperation. Educators, increasingly aware of the benefits of the arts, are beginning to advocate for a greater focus on the arts, but it will be years before most school systems shift the necessary time and resources toward an art-rich curriculum.
Everyartist aims to help spur expanded engagement in art activities among elementary school age children with our signature event, Everyartist Live!, targeting at least a half million elementary school students in our country this year.
IBM 2010 Global CEO Study: Creativity Selected as Most Crucial Factor for Future Success.
Kim, K. (2008) Meta-analyses of the relationship of creative achievement to both IQ and divergent thinking test scores. Journal of Creative Behavior. Volume 42, No. 2.
Kim, K. (2011) The Creativity Crisis: The Decrease in Creative Thinking Scores on the Torrance Tests of Creative Thinking. Creativity Research Journal, 23:3.
Asbury, C. & Rich, B. (Eds) (2008) Learning, arts and the brain: The Dana Consortium report on arts and cognition. New York: Dana Press.
Winner, E. & Hetland, L. (2000). The arts and academic achievement: What the evidence shows. Journal of Aesthetic Education, 34.