This is the online stream for sharing conversations that happened throughout the Greater Bay Area from March through June 2012 around the question:

How can we collectively transform public education through the arts to create a better future for everyone?

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I’m reading Imagine: How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer, and about a third of the way in, after this well-known Picasso quote: “Every child is an artist.  The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”

Lehrer continues:

“From the perspective of the brain, Picasso is exactly right, as the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC, the part of the brain that is most closely linked to impulse control, the part that artists learn how to ‘turn off’ when sketching or improvising)  is the last brain area to fully develop.  This helps to explain why young children are so effortlessly creative; their censors don’t yet exist.  But then the brain matures and we become too self-conscious to improvise, too worried about saying the wrong thing, or playing the wrong note, or falling off the surfboard.  It’s also the point that the infamous ‘fourth grade slump’ in creativity sets in, as students suddenly stop wanting to make art in the classroom.” (p. 109-110).

So if we’re training kids in artsmaking from K, we are in fact priming their ability to switch off the DLPFC, thus giving them a more effective pathway to creative thinking across every sphere, and making them more effective people wherever they end up.

We’ve gotta start in K.

And you’ve all got to read this book.


2 Comments on “Eureka!”

  1. susanwolfprojects says:

    He was a speaker on commonwealth club april13. It was a non stop progression of context and insights. You can listen by going to KQED radio, search by date.
    I am thankful for the uptick that comments upon the value of creativity.

  2. lmusic says:

    Jonah Lehrer is a really fantastic thinker – and it is so important that arts learning is connected to all of the new neuro science learning that is emerging. I wonder if sharing about his new book would be a good topic for the upcoming Arts Learning Leadership retreat on May 19… Tana Johnosn is heading that up. Her email is and she is working wiht Susan Wolf on it. Maybe a portion of his talk from the CommonWealth club could be listened to for the shared learnign of this group – or an excerpt from his new book. Valerie and Susan – you might consider proposing an idea for a whole group or breakout experience.