Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Creative Inspiration For Memphis

To continue the creativity theme for the week, we have a few things that we think will interest you.

First, CEOs for Cities, headed up by our good friend and colleague Carol Coletta, continues to see cities through its decidedly unique and provocative lens, and its new video makes a compelling case for the huge economic impact that can come with small increases in incomes, with fewer miles driven and with fewer people living in poverty. These should be three key priorities for the Memphis agenda, so it's intriguing to consider what profound change can come from small improvements, specifically an increase of only 1% in people over 25 years of age with college degrees.

Moving the needle from 23.7% to 24.7% would inject $1 billion into the Memphis economy, or as the video puts it, enough to buy two Formula 1 racers for our city, tickets for every person in Memphis to the Graceland Elvis Presley Entourage Tour and season tickets for every person in Memphis to the Memphis Grizzlies. And if the 51 largest cities in the U.S. did the same while reducing average miles driven by 1 mile a day and reducing poverty by 1%, it would inject $166 billion into the U.S. economy.

As Carol explained, "In an era of fiscal constraint at every level of government, leaders must innovate new ways for producing wealth and opportunity. Representing the nation's primary source of wealth, employment and global competitiveness, cities are where the strategies to keep America moving forward must be developed and launched."

Meanwhile, a New York Times headline caught our eye: It's No Time To Forget About Innovation.

It said: "There are important things managers can do to ensure that creative forward-thinking doesn't go out the door with each round of layoffs. Fostering a companywide atmosphere of innovation — encouraging everyone to take risks and to think about novel solutions, from receptionists to corner-suite executives — helps ensure that the loss of any particular set of minds needn't spell trouble for the entire company. She suggests instilling five core values to entrench innovation in the corporate mind-set: questioning, risk-taking, openness, patience and trust. All five must be used together — risk-taking without questioning leads to recklessness, she says, while patience without trust sets up an every-man-for-himself mentality."

Here's the kicker: "Creativity doesn't care about economic downturns," Mr. (Howard) Lieberman says. "In the middle of the 1970s, when we were having a big economic downturn, both Apple and Microsoft were founded. Creative people don't care about the time or the season or the state of the economy; they just go out and do their thing."

Then, Gates of Memphis, in his indispensable blog, has posted the audio of the "Conversations in Creativity" panel discussion at Memphis College of Art that inspired this week of posts about creativity. It can be found as Gates' October 26 post.

Finally, Elizabeth Eggleston, development coordinator at UrbanArt Commission, serves notice of good things to come: Memphis has been chosen by Creative TIme as a place to bring a mobile exhibit by Jeremy Deller in the spring. The exhibit is a conversation on war and equality that includes an actual tank that was blown up in Iraq, and it will be accompanied by veterans and Iraqis engaging Memphians in a dialogue that reflects the power of art at its best – the power to open up communications, to provoke critical thinking and to call for new insights.

Creative Time is a 24-year-old, New York-based group that presents some of the most provocatively innovative art in the public realm. In its own words: "We work with artists who ignite the imagination and explore ideas that shape society. We initiate a dynamic conversation among artists, sites, and audiences, in projects that enliven public spaces with free and powerful expression." This video gives you a taste of what we have to look forward to. Ms. Eggleston said that the exhibit will only make two stops south of the Mason-Dixon line, so it's an important opportunity to drive a stake into the ground about the importance of creativity and to serve notice that a new current of creative change is flowing in Memphis.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

its very nice article
thanks for this link

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