As 2012 begins, what are your hopes and goals for the year? Aside from the usual resolutions to lose some weight, eat more healthy meals or pay off some debt, let’s make this one an even more creative year.
According to the Minnesota Arts Board, 20,000 Minnesotan fine artists make a living in our state. A recent article in the Star Tribune suggested that Minnesota’s identity should lie not with its cold winter weather but with its creative economy.
In “Minnesota: The land of 10,000 ideas,” Doug Spong highlights that Minnesota’s key advantage is its number of creative thinkers. “Tens of thousands of Minnesotans identify their labor of love as something to do with our creative economy. More than 5,500 educated, well-compensated professionals work for hundreds of advertising agencies, public relations firms, digital agencies and design shops. Another 44,000 or so work in support of these firms, including freelance writers, art directors, designers, illustrators, photographers, film editors, digital animators, website programmers, printers, media planners/buyers, social media specialists, experiential marketers, direct marketers, and so on.”
One of the key elements that attracts people to come to this state is our support of the arts. The Minnesota Arts Board highlights that 95% of Minnesotans believe that the arts are an important or an essential part in educating our children. Research shows that children who study art have higher overall academic performance. These young people then become the creative thinkers that drive new ideas and succeed in our increasingly complex economy. The arts help to develop the kind of critical thinking in people that businesses must emloy if they are to remain competitive.
Whether you are one of the 30,000+ artists in Minnesota or someone who wants to suceed in a Fortune 500 company (or both), take time to get creative this year. Here are some ideas:
1. Check out a museum or gallery. Simply looking at art can help get your creative juices flowing. Try to see something new each week or each month – there is plenty out there. Both the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and Mill City Museum are open on New Year’s Day.
2. Keep a sketchbook our journal. You don’t have to pressure yourself to make a materpiece; just have fun with it. Try filling an entire book this year. You will be amazed with how it helps ideas flow if you let it. I am going to try to get back to writing two pages per day. For me it doesn’t matter if it’s drawings or text, I want to get back in the habit of producing more regularly.
3. Take a class. A number of arts organizations throughout the cities offer classes for people of all ages and skill levels. Take a drawing or painting class at MCAD, learn how to throw a pot at Northern Clay Center, write a play at The Playwrights’ Center, get past your writer’s block at The Loft Literary Center, or finally learn how to knit at Crafty Planet.
4. Take yourself on dates. It’s fun to pamper yourself once in a while. Take the time to enjoy a show, go on a long walk or treat yourself to a tasty meal. It does not have to be something that takes a lot of planning, just get out there and enjoy being you.
5. Start a blog. You have something to say. Say it!
What will you do this year to spark more creativity? Cheers to a creative and productive 2012!