Several weeks ago, when I was certain I was not even ready to leave my house after my mom’s ordeal, I received a reminder that I had signed up for a meetup event for a group I had joined months earlier, called the Chicago Creative Social Club. The group would be hosting some of Chicago’s savvy creative women and giving them an opportunity to tell their story, as well as mixing and mingling with the crowd. I discarded the email… no, I’m not leaving the house tonight, no way.
I jumped into bed and the email kept dogging me, so I got up and re-read it. OK, I’m going — off I went with Elvis Costello in my earbuds, I made my way up to Division & Wells to the Old Town Pub. Elvis seems appropriate in this part of town, espcially with the new Declan’s Pub that recently opened on Wells.
I’m really glad I went; I met some very interesting people doing all sorts of very cool projects in Chicago and across the country. I met some really neurotic women as well. Divorced women in my age group can be awfully scary and angry; I do my best to not pick a side and to navigate my way out. Once the panel started, I was able to kick back and hear what the women had to say — and it was really tremendous! I totally enjoyed what Lisa Canning, Founder of The Institute for Arts Entrepreunership had to say:
What is creativity?
How can we improve the chances that productivity will flow from our creativity?
For starters we need to think of imagination and creativity as distinctively different. These two words should not be used interchangeably.
Think of it like this. If you can visualize something in your mind; the famous person you hope to marry, your first house, the new car you want to buy or your first trip to a new planet in the solar system, then you are a living breathing IMAGINATIVE human being. All human’s posses and can access this amazing power in various strengths.
However, accessing this power source-while an INCREDIBLY important 1st step – does not require action. We can dream all day and visualize whatever we wish without obligation to render what we see. Here is where the next step comes. To transform our imagination into creativity requires a far more complicated ability – to transform what we envision in our heads into a reality. This requires a sequence of steps that move our thought processes back and forth between our left ” hard skills” and our right “soft skills”; which is what we teach you how to do at the IAE.
What is human intelligence?
We define human intelligence as ones capacity to reason, plan, contextualize, synthesize, problem-solve, think, comprehend ideas, use language and learn.
What do you mean by ethical culture?
We define ethical culture through the matching of ones actions and words to build trust, be of service to others, respect differences and develop shared language.
We also have a secondary goal; to help you learn how to transmit your creative skills into other sectors (e.g. business, technology, engineering, science, healthcare) to provide value to others in new ways.
Lisa had a terrible flu the night of this event and had to leave as soon as she was done with her portion of the vent; I nonetheless approached her, introduced myself and asked for her card. I sent her an email the next day and asked for a meeting. A week later, I spent an afternoon with her in the IAEou’s studios on West Hubbard in the Kinzie Corridor. We had so much to share!!
In the end, Lisa offered me the position of teaching social media to the school that both she and I would develop the cirriculm, to work with her established team to create the marketing outreach once all systems were in place, as well as work with the school and its facilitators to help develop a global program that is already in the works with schools in the country of Jordan and at the University of California San Diego.
I said yes on the spot. I knew I had found the place I wanted to grow, develo, teach and learn. I get started in April.
Now the tricky part has been that I have been working with Blackberry to launch their new smartphone, and I am preparing to move, so my time has been spread pretty thin. I have every intention of making this work and have been preparing my schedule in the wee hours. I am excited to say the least and look forward to sinking my teeth into this program. All of which I am short on details right now, but not for long.
Once I read the mission statement and spent a few days of discovery with Lisa, I knew this was it:
What We Believe:
We believe that every single artist needs leadership and entrepreneurship training to develop the skills they need to realize their creative vision(s). We believe artists have an extraordinary amount of yet-to-be-realized economic potential if their creative vision(s) can be realized. Artistic training, in our opinion, should be viewed as a high level educational pursuit similar to the training of a doctor or lawyer. And because most artists are intelligent enough to have become a doctor or lawyer, there is simply no reason they cannot become vibrant, relevant, and meaningful contributors to society if offered the rest of the training they need to do so.
To become meaningful contributors, artists need four years of professional artistic training, and at least one year of applied training to realize their artistic vision(s)- allowing them to create meaningful, sustainable careers in the arts.
What We Know:
We know that while most institutions of higher education are unable to offer this level of training, it is impossible for them to do so. As it is, it takes four years of intense undergraduate study for an artist to build enough artistic skill and the maturity needed to become a working professional at their craft. There is simply no time left to help an artist access and develop their creative vision into a productive life sustaining tool.
In an attempt to bridge this training gap, increasingly there are workshops and short training programs available for artists at the undergraduate and post-graduate level. However, it is not possible to teach an artist the skills they need in a series of short lessons or workshops. It is not book knowledge artists need, but experiential learning models, an investment of time to build habits of mind, and mentorship to assimilate their arts focused creative training into a sustainable career model. This is not all that dissimilar to how one learns to be an artist in the first place.
What We Do:
At The IAE, our goal is to help our students define and shape how best to use their talents to make a living in their medium and for the community they can best serve. Our role is to teach our students how to economically leverage all of their skills and creative talent(s) to profit ethically from their artistry, as they become a leader in a niche market they uniquely can fill with their creative vision(s).