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Sometimes a book jumps off my bookshelf and says look at me again- Now!
Being that I am currently studying marketing, when I picked up the book ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’ By, Richard Florida again, I had a whole new appreciation for its contents.

This national bestseller written by a professor of economic development, makes many key contributions to the discussion about the central role of creativity in the economy, and specifically highlighting a growing class of society he calls the creative class.

HERE ARE SOME Gold NUGGETS  or KEY QUOTES to chew on:

“Many say that we now live in an “information” economy or a “knowledge” economy. But what’s more fundamentally true is that we now have an economy powered by human creativity. Creativity– “the ability to create meaningful new forms”, as Webster’s dictionary puts it- is now the decisive source of competitive advantage. In virtually every industry, from automobiles to fashion, food products, and information technology itself, the winners in the long run are those who can create and keep on creating.”

***

“The economic need for creativity has registered itself in the rise of a new class, which I call the Creative Class. Some 38 million Americans, 30% of all employed people, belong to this new class. I define the core of the Creative Class to include people in science and engineering, architecture and design, education, arts, music and entertainment, whose economic function is to create new ideas, new technology and/or new creative content. Around the core, the Creative class also includes a broader group of creative professionals in business and finance, law, health care and related fields. These people engage in complex problem solving that involves a great deal of independent judgment and requires high levels of education or human capital. In addition, all members of the Creative Class– whether they are artists or engineers, musicians or computer scientists, writers or entrepreneurs– share a common creative ethos that values creativity, individuality, difference, and merit.”

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“Given that creativity has emerged as the single most important source of economic growth, the best route to continued prosperity is by investing in our stock of creativity in all its forms, across the board. This entails more than just pumping up R&D spending or improving education, though both are important. It requires increasing investments in the multidimensional and varied forms of creativity– arts, music, culture, design and related fields– because all are linked and flourish together. It also means investing in the related infrastructures and communities that attract creative people from around the world and that broadly foment creativity.”

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The Creative Class  has 3 FUNDAMENTAL ISSUES TO ADDRESS:

1.) Investing in Creativity to ensure long-run economic growth.
2.) Overcoming the class divides that weaken our social fabric & threaten economic well-being.
3.) To build new forms of social cohesion in a world defined by by increasing diversity and beset by growing fragmentation.

This book shows how codependent and increasingly connected are the worlds of finance/business/economy and the worlds of the arts/creativity/culture.

It also really broadens the scope of what we may usually categorize as “creative work” and illuminates the integral role that creativity has in many of the jobs central to our economic health.

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Artists are known for being the pioneering out of the box types. But then so many find themselves in a frustratingly small competitive mini world going for the same gigs or galleries as their counterparts. Lack of inspiration and lack of compensation are two of the biggest pitfalls to avoid while we adventure down an artists path. With so much pulling back and shrinking going on these days, I think we creative types need to stretch out and think BIGger.

Expanding the sphere of our art is good not only for the creative stimulation the challenge brings, but also for the new sources of income it can generate. In a nutshell, splashing out of traditional containers can be both fun and profitable.

Well the visual artist’s primary canvas is the human eye and perception/imagination field.
The paper and easel and computer screen are common containers for that art, and yet in being small squares, they have their limitations.

EXAMPLES of CANVAS EXPANSION FOR VISUAL ARTISTS:
Tattoo Art, Body Painting, Face Painting, Designing Fashion, Painting Murals, Caricature Sketches, Graffiti Art, Air Brushing clothes and walls and people, Silk Screening, Live Painting at music shows, painting pregnant women’s bellies, drawing your dream home on your lover’s back and taking a picture of it, decorating cakes, doing custom signs for local small businesses…

Musicians primary canvas is the human ear and the emotional and social field.
The live show and the compact disc or mp3 are the traditional containers for this audible art.

EXAMPLES OF CANVAS EXPANSION FOR MUSICIANS
Play in mental hospitals or old people’s homes, teach kids in schools or private lessons, collaborate with other artists on a large public art project, create a music therapy project at a local childrens hospital, go in a tunnel and record your most heartfelt music and sell it to gardeners to play to their plants, make fun little snippets of music for commercials, ring tones, your answering machine…

Performing Artists like actors and dancers primarily use a stage as their canvas.

EXAMPLES OF CANVAS EXPANSION FOR PERFORMERS:
Perform on the streets, perform for your neighbors or block party, collaborate with photographers and film students, for charity events, in beautiful spots in nature, in ugly industrial settings, make up a new theatrical telegram service, work with wild new props, dance with fire, put on a show with your favorite kids for their parents, do political satire miming at the lawn of a federal building, dance at rallies, try go-go dancing, wear a mask and perform on a bench during lunchtime in a big city, teach your art form to kids or under-expressed housewives and businesspeople,  hang up a big sheet at a party- shine light on it and shadow dance behind it, build a stage onto a big van or ice cream truck and take the show on the road…

You get the picture.

Integration Exercise:
(cause it is oh so easy to scarf through ideas with our minds and never build a bridge into action)
Answer these questions in your journal or with another artistic partner.
1.)    What are my main 2 artistic forms?
2.)    What current canvas are they being expressed on?
3.)    What new ideas do I have for other outlets and canvases to explore?
Then circle the most compelling ones. Then do them, or if you are the forgetful type- write them and hang them up in a visible place to remind you of them till you get around to trying them out.

Would love to hear your comments or ideas.