Creative Voices Summit

May 24, 2012

On Wednesday, May 23, Young Audiences staff and supporters enjoyed being among friends at the 2012 Creative Voices Summit & Arts Education Day Luncheon. The event, sponsored by CSU’s Center for Arts and Innovation, opened with a freewheeling discussion on the nature of creativity with comments from a staggeringly impressive cast: Dr. Larry Sherman, neuroscientist and pianist; Michael Ruhlman, Cleveland chef and author; Dr. Janna Levin, theoretical astrophysicist, novelist, and visual artist; and Paul Westlake, Jr., architect, moderated by the former chair of the National Endowment for the Arts John Frohnmayer.

The topics of their conversation ranged from childhood creativity and the importance of the arts in children’s development, to the science behind the formation of new ideas. Dr. Sherman observed that children are natural creators; however when they reach fourth grade their creativity tends to be stifled. This is because schools teach students to work towards success in the form of a test, therefore instilling fear that they might fail or have the wrong answer. The panel jumped on the idea that schools so desperately need the arts to counteract more structured forms of teaching.

The panelists also talked about their success and failures throughout their many diverse fields. They all agreed that failure — if anything — was the most important component to their success. They all stated that if they weren’t working in an environment that allowed them to fail and try again, they would never be able to decipher between the good and the bad, or learn from their mistakes. All in all the panelists were witty, brilliant, and brought plenty of inspiration to the appreciative audience.

The Arts Education Day Luncheon was just as inspiring; especially the wonderful performance from Young Audiences’ very own Sogbety Diomande and his African Drumming students from Citizens Leadership Academy. Young Audiences premiered its new video.

The legendary singer, dancer and performer Ben Vereen was the keynote speaker. He “preached to the choir” about the importance of the arts in a child’s life; and being the natural-born performer that he is, sang songs of hope and empowerment. Vereen told inspiring stories of how the arts directed his life, and how singing moved him to health after a terrifying accident and a stroke. He was captivating, charming, and spoke straight from the heart.

Thanks Katie Shames and The Cleveland Arts Education Consortium for getting us all together for creativity and the arts. You did a great job with this year’s summit – just like you always do.
Posted by Marina Oney, Senior Project Intern from Beaumont high school 2012

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