Civic innovation, anyone?

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Arts Eye newsletter from the Indiana Arts Commission

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The artist's role in civic innovation

Story by Jessica Sherrod Hale and Dr. Joanna Woronkowicz, IUPUI
This story is the result of a research partnership between the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs and the National Endowment for the Arts: the Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation (AEI) Lab

Artist-in-residence programs are a way for spaces that don’t typically include artists’ input—such as hospitalscorporations, and public agencies—to incorporate their work. Many of these programs aim to tap the creative potential of artists to boost creative problem-solving and organizational innovation. The literature on creativity suggests there are many avenues for artists to amplify an organization’s creative potential, such as offering new insights, reshaping the collaborative process to bolster group-level creativity, or modeling creative processes for other group members.

Narrowing the focus on the idea of artist-in-residence programs as engines of innovation, the Arts, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation (AEI) Lab recently conducted an experiment to test the impact of artists on creative problem-solving in the public sector. We asked employees of public agencies in the Indianapolis metropolitan area to work in small groups to develop a grant proposal addressing the city’s rising homicide rate. ... This experiment, overall, shows promise for the concept of including artists in civic problem-solving to achieve greater creativity. That greater creativity, in theory, should increase public sector innovation and effectiveness in tackling public problems. Read the full story.

Kokomo library image

Photo by Kelly Lafferty Gerber

Local maker brings unique, international art project to Kokomo

Story by Carson Gerber, Kokomo Tribune

Head downstairs at the main branch of the Kokomo-Howard County Public Library, and you’ll find over 1,200 pieces of unique, handmade art hanging on the walls.

This isn’t just any kind of art, though. Each piece is tiny – the size of a basketball or baseball card – and every one was created over the last year by local residents from just about every background. Some were painted by young school kids. Others were made by homeless women living at the Gilead House. Others came from professional local artists or retired teachers.

But the exhibition is more than just small art pieces made by local residents. It’s actually part of an international conceptual art project started 22 years ago in Switzerland called “artist trading cards.” The idea is just like it sounds. People create small pieces of art on a 2.5-by-3.5-inch card, and then trade them with other people’s cards that were made in the same town – or on the other side of the world.

“The idea is that everyone is a maker,” said local artist Rebecca Rayls. “Everyone can create. Everyone can doodle or write a poem.” Read the full story.

Opportunities you should know about

Grid of instagram photos

Inspiration from Instagram 

Alexandra Geske / Woodwork
Korie Pickett / Writing 
Arts for Learning Indiana / Arts education
Theophilus Akai / Musician
Olivia Rae Alexander / Visual art
Jeremy Fulk / Photography
Brent Alan Sievers / Visual art
United States Artists / Community 
Jaramis Tubbs / Musician
Alicia Dawn Criswell / Art therapy

What I'm ______________

Listening to? Reading? Thinking? Regardless, it's nonstop. 

Stillness is the Key book cover

Stillness Is the Key

"Stillness Is the Key," written by Ryan Holiday, offers a simple but inspiring antidote to the stress of 24/7 stimulation – things that get in the way of you being the best artist, writer, whatever you are that you can be. (Okay, I'm not currently reading it anymore, it only took me a few days to finish...but I couldn't pass on the share!)

All the best,

Jasmine Bejar
Communications & Community Engagement Manager
Indiana Arts Commission

Jasmine Bejar