For as many people as there are in the world, there is an inspiration for each of us that ignites our unique creative spark. I believe that the notion that only ‘artistic’ people have a creative side and should pursue their creativity is a fallacy. Thankfully, this misperception is slowly crumbling under the weight of mounting evidence that suggests otherwise. Research results abound that repeatedly show the value an arts education can have on people no matter what field their professional calling happens to be rooted in. Did you get that? It’s worth repeating: At any age and at any stage, the arts can be of benefit to you.
It’s for this reason that I fervently hope you give yourself permission to explore your own creative side – not necessarily with the intent of putting on a solo art show – but just with the intention to try something new. To look at your world with fresh eyes and see things from a new perspective. You will be amazed at the solutions you start coming up with at work and at home that previously may have had you stumped!
In academic and corporate circles, the notion of applying the arts to multiple disciplines is gaining momentum thanks in part to an initiative called “STEM to STEAM” championed by the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). In a nutshell, this movement advocates the wisdom of adding Art + Design to the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math equation – thereby giving rise (no pun intended) to the STEAM acronym. If innovation is indeed the key to a prosperous future for individuals, nations and corporations, then one cannot logically deny the wisdom of STEAM. It’s in our best interests to embrace the importance of flexing and nurturing the innovation center within each of us: our creativity.
Creative Innovators Among Us
Recently, the first TEDxGrandBahama event brought together innovative minds from the fields of social sciences, technology, and agriculture to discuss “ideas worth spreading” in the tradition of TED Talks (which in itself stands for Technology, Education and Design). All of the speakers at TEDxGrandBahama were outstanding in the substance and delivery of their insight and ideas. The full video recordings of each of their presentations are due to be released online in August. Joey Gaskins, Jr., Katarvia Taylor, Luckner Timothee, Lemarque Campbell, and Dr. Crystal DeGregory are all originally from Grand Bahama and are all high achievers in their respective fields. I was fortunate enough to get insight from three of them as to the impact and importance of creativity in their own lives.
“Creative thinking"... how has it helped me in the pursuit of my passion and purpose in life? Interesting question! I think creative thinking has helped me in my pursuit of a lot of things in life from farming, martial arts, acting and dancing. Creative thinking has forced me to be myself and bring out my individuality on many fronts so for all that it is worth, it will always be different and that speaks volumes.
As for my life purpose, well it has definitely helped me immensely! Creative thinking has been the platform for almost everything that I do today whether as an actor on stage or just a farmer in my backyard growing black tomatoes. Creative thinking has made me expand my horizon from “the norm” to create more broad strokes on the canvas of life.
There have been many people that came along and added to my creative juices not just one person I think all play a vital part even to this day because to me it's about your mindset. Your mindset will always attract positive individuals or negative ones and for me all have been positive. My mom might have been the one that taught me to have fun in life enjoy it at all costs, and so I have!
If there’s something I do that frees up my mind well that would have to be dancing. It's the best stress reliever I know and continue to do!
Dr. Crystal A. DeGregory
As my mother’s only child, creativity has been my constant companion throughout my life. What I called creativity, my mother, of course, called making a mess. Cutting up paper was only the beginning of my creative pursuits. When life began giving me lemons, I realized the need, and indeed my ability to make lemonade. It’s an ability that served me well in graduate school as well as in the days following the completion of my Ph.D. Despite my best hope, professional opportunities always seemed tied to seemingly insurmountable challenges. In an effort to create the personal and professional life I wanted, I purchased a web domain and got to work shaping my brand as who I was and what I wanted to be.
A few years ago, I had the privilege of witnessing poet, historian and activist Dr. Maya Angelou, whom I call “Mother Maya”—although she doesn’t know me from Adam—captivate an audience of a few hundred people with her voice. Flanked by two men, both substantial in size, Mother Maya was making her way to a caquetoire or conversation chair when suddenly her voice rang out in song: “When it looked like the sun wasn’t gonna’ shine anymore, God put a rainbow in the clouds!” It reinforced my mantra: “God restores!” Even when things seem hopeless, I try to remember that where there is life, there is hope; and that the absence of an obvious solution doesn’t mean that one isn’t on the next horizon.
I love being the the yard. Playfully, I began calling working in the yard “church.” There is something about cutting grass (sorry Luck), trimming hedges and raising the mulch bed that connects me to God and to possibility. Even without putting my hands in the dirt, I keenly feel God’s presence when working in the yard. Thinking through complex and small challenges alike, I feel freer and surer of myself and of my ability to navigate life.
Creative thinking is where I’m constantly open and adaptable to change. Change enables a person to fully experience life and live up his or her potential. This may be a simple change in our daily habits, for example, starting a new sport or learning a new language. Or it may be as extreme as relocating to a foreign country where we don’t know anyone. Having such openness allows us to push our limits, learn new things, and meet new people; but most importantly, we are able to share our new experiences with others, which in turn has the potential to spark creativity in them.
Are you taking full advantage of the creative impact that lies within you? Two things to keep in mind: 1) It’s never too late; and 2) You can start anywhere. Just think of something that interests you and go with it! Write that poem, join a choir, sign up for that dance class, get in the garden. Don’t hold yourself back any more!