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When and Where is Creativity?

There is a spate of new books that suggest that we re-think what we mean by creativity. Malcolm Gladwell’s volume, Outliers: The Story of Success, points to the environmental elements – family, opportunity, and luck – that determine whether a person’s raw talent can turn into realized creativity. Sparks by Peter Benson speaks to engaging the hidden talents in all teenagers – out of the conviction that there are many forms of talent and creativity that go unrecognized. Finally, Sir Ken Robinson’s The Element describes how people who have located the passion for creativity within themselves can frequently unlock it in others. Each one raises important questions about the role that arts and cultural organizations could play in breaking down the stubborn correlation between a young person’s wealth, class, and access and the likelihood that her gifts will be discovered and cultivated.

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