Saturday, December 30, 2006

Artists Coming to Save a Town Near You

The discussion surrounding the economic impact the arts have on communities has always fascinated me. Recently, ABC News got on the bandwagon by featuring the success that artists have had reviving the economy of sleepy Paducah, KY. I've been following other communities as they transform themselves and their economy through the arts. It's such an interesting process.

It always makes me think of my hometown of Cleveland. It's such a cliche to keep talking about Cleveland's potential to turn around it's bleak economy through the arts, because the fact is that the area's existing cultural institutions already rival those of any larger city. To me, it's more about building a lasting appreciation for those institutions while creating new ones.
  • See how your city ranks in terms of its creative potential.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Join a Community Art Project

  • Try your hand at drawing by adding a line or 2 to this project at SwarmSketch.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Why Study Creativity?

According to the International Center for Studies in Creativity, here are the top 12 reasons:

  1. Develop Your Potential Beyond the Boundaries of Intelligence. Expand on your abilities. Develop all of your potential!
  2. Rapid Growth of Competition in Business and Industry. In a world of increasing complexity, change and competition, generating new ideas and bringing them to market is now seen as the central task of corporate management. Successful businesses are the ones that instill creativity throughout the organization.
  3. Effective Use of Human Resources. Creativity is a human resource which exists in all organizations. To survive in today's economy, it is imperative for an organization to nurture the creative potential of its human resources.
  4. Discover New and Better Ways to Solve Problems. More and more, the problems you face are complex and open-ended. Knowledge alone isn't enough to reach innovative solutions. Creative thinking skills are required.
  5. Development of Society. Creativity is a central factor in our ability to continue to adapt to the changing environment. If a nation actively seeks to nurture creativity, it will play a part in making history.
  6. Builds on the Nature of Knowledge. Creativity skills can assist an individual in enhancing his or her knowledge base. Without creative thinking, an individual is condemned to stay within the knowledge base.
  7. Natural Human Phenomenon. Creativity is very democratic! Everyone has some, but to varying levels and degrees. Furthermore, we know this ability can be enhanced.
  8. Important Aspect of Mental Health. Individuals who are capable of incorporating creativity into their lives can enjoy the experience of discovering, developing, and utilizing their many talents. Skills relevant to creativity are also useful in coping with life's challenges. There is no doubt, creative thinking is a critical life skill.
  9. Growing Body of Interest. There is a growing body of literature that represents impressive progress in understanding the nature of creativity. Moreover, there have been a large number of national and international conferences on creativity for over 50 years.
  10. Builds on All Disciplines. Creativity is in all fields-from chemistry to engineering, education to computer science, sociology to business.
  11. Contributes to Effective Leadership. It is the application of creativity skills that distinguishes a manager who maintains the status quo from a leader who supplies a new direction or vision. By internalizing the spirit of creativity and the principles of creative problem solving, an individual can be transformed into a change leader.
  12. Enhance the Process of Learning. The nature of learning requires the use of skills associated with creativity. Educators adopt a creative approach to teaching are more likely to deliver content and create a learning environment that develops higher order thinking skills.
  • What areas of your life or work can you add a dose of creativity to enhance your success?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

I Write, Therefore I Am

I admit I have never been much of the creative writing type. I tend to explore myself more through the visual arts. But since my creative exploration began, stepping into the foray of writing has been more appealing, and even more so, since I have found a lively writing workshop to attend. Stepping into my first meeting was really like stepping into the unknown for me. Luckily, I was greeted by a friendly group of fellow creative explorers.

The rules are simple: No Harsh Criticism and No Rationalizations

We begin our writing based on the leader's prompt: SPARKLING. Ok, I think to myself. I can do this. I can write for 10 minutes in stream of consciousness mode then read it aloud to a group of strangers, I only just met 5 minutes ago. My thoughts immediately turn to Christmas and the plethora of lights, trees, and ornaments all sparkling, that surround us at this time of the year. But then I become more contemplative, and write about the emotions that the holidays spark. Before I know it, time is up and I made it through.

When it comes time to read my piece, I do so in an expressive way that brings out my emotions. Several comments are made that my piece is "beautiful" and "fitting for the season." The leader even asks if I have written much before because she like the essay format I used and thinks that it could be expanded and possibly submitted for publication. I admit that it is "my first foray."

Try some of these writing prompts on your own:

  • Write your obituary. List your life's accomplishments. Write it 50 years into the future.

  • Write a 200-word description of a place. You can use any and all sensory descriptions but sight: you can describe what it feels like, smells like and even tastes like.

  • Try to remember your earliest childhood memory and re-write it from another perspective

Friday, December 15, 2006

Let the Journey Begin.......

"Creativity is a drug I cannot live without." - - - Cecil B. DeMille

These are the words I live by, and ones I think you should too. This blog is dedicated to my musings on all things creative. Surprising to most people, creativity is in everyone and you, yes you are creative, even if you don't think you are. Because creativity comes in such varied forms, it is my intention to comment on them, drop hints and otherwise inspire you to try at least one creative thing a day and let me know how you feel afterward.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

About Me

Melanie Sklarz inspires individuals and groups to tap into their creativity for personal and professional success, whether it’s a painting, marketing plan, or being everyday creative.

An accomplished educator, she has 10 years experience developing and leading innovative programs for museums as a teacher and curator, most recently in Washington, DC. Also an informative speaker, she has facilitated workshops for creative women entrepreneurs and led a parent workshop on raising creative kids.

Melanie is also a mixed media artist specializing in collage. Her artwork has been exhibited at the FAVA Gallery in Oberlin, Ohio, the Dialogue Gallery in Buffalo and The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, Virginia.

Finally, as a blogger, she has been a panelist on a women in blogging discussion and her blog has been added to’s creative journey blogs.

She earned a BA in Art History from Seton Hill University and a MA from the Ohio State University, where her research focused on women’s artistic production and activism. In 2005, she completed her creativity coach training with Eric Maisel, PhD, known as “America’s Foremost Creativity Coach.”