Kurt Wenner – Recreating Creativity

While at Sarasota Chalk Festival I attended a lecture on creativity by Master Artist, Kurt Wenner and almost 3 weeks later I’m still thinking about it.  Here’s a very brief summary that touches on a few points that were discussed as well as a few images that demonstrate Wenner’s creativity.  

In his lecture Wenner discussed how society is starting to realise that creativity is a vital part of human intelligence that may determine the success or failure of an individual or even of a nation in the next decades. But, he questions, how can creativity be incorporated into education systems when it’s own definition is flawed?

According to Wikipedia,  Creativity refers to the invention or origination of any new thing (a product, solution, artwork, literary work, joke, etc.) that has value. 

So if this is the definition who determines the value and when do they do it?  Definitions from other sources aren’t much better. The current definitions keeps creativity peripheral when it should be central.  Creativity is present, it is not past while knowledge is past and never present.   A good teacher needs to bring text into the present. 

According to Wenner, creativity has two parts  1. the idea, which is non-physical, eternal, pervasive and cannot be owned; and 2. the process, how it becomes real.  Creativity is the process of manifesting an idea. It’s an ongoing process that includes destruction. For without destruction, how can there be change and growth?

Historical preconceptions about what creativity is and how it operates need to be pushed aside to develop a new education system the enables students to bring their dreams to life in the physical world.  Wenner has spent a lifetime creating art forms, works of art and architecture, as well educational programs in a vast array of venues and media. Central to his own creative process is the knowledge of both classicism and sacred geometry — two subjects that have been removed from general education in the US.

Currently education is about testing.  Corporations are all about competing.  Rather than basing everything on survival of the fittest, Wenner suggests we should look at better ways to interact.  Throughout his lecture, Wenner illustrated how a new approach to the idea of creativity can lead to an infinite number of discoveries and inventions.

So Kurt Wenner you have stirred up the bees I have in my bonnet about education and reignited my passion for arts in education.  My own education in Australia was fraught with text book teaching which stifled my creativity, thankfully I overcame the boredom of my schooling and have taken revenge by producing arts education programs to inspire students and conference art programs that engage audience and invite ideas and further their development.  This too is why Chalk Urban Art Festival exists, it’s a public platform for social commentary, where ideas are born and developed.  

Stay tuned for a TED talk by Kurt Wenner in the near future on this subject. To find out more about the arts education and conference art programs organised by Zest Events International Pty Ltd, contact Andi Mether.

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