What is Creativity? NEA Staff Address the Unanswerable Question
JOAN SHIGEKAWA: For me, creativity involves going to the edge. It involves going to the edge of something into the unknown. And it also involves making something where nothing existed before. So, for me personally, artists and scientists share that same passion of going to the unknown, of opening doors that others haven't opened, and that's what I think is the most exciting thing about working here at the NEA.
PAULETTE BEETE: We're doing this for this magazine issue that we're putting together and it has been really interesting to hear other people talk about creativity and talk around it. I think the things that keep coming up are collaboration, that there's always some sort of connection and working with other people.
CARLOS ARRIEN: Creativity is what sets us apart from other creatures.
WENDY CLARK: I'm not an artist, but I have a great appreciation for the creative process.
Creativity is impossible to define. I think it defies description. Although I think everyone is creative, not everyone can turn that into either a work of art or a performance or something that they can present to the world.
RALPH REMINGTON: I think creativity is one's ability to be able to create something out of nothing. To manifest literally something that hasn't ever existed before, or to take something that has existed and deconstruct in a way that, when we look at it, we see it anew.
CARLOS ARRIEN: Something that is part of us, is built into human beings. It's basically play….
TERRY LIU: When we think of creativity, we're thinking of composers that are creating something that no one's ever done before. Trying to create a new way of putting notes together.
MICHAEL HOLTMANN: I also think of people like John Cage who hear the world differently. John Cage who said, “The music never stops, it's we who turn away,” and I like that idea of things always being made. There's always some kind of making and sometimes we just have to be attentive to it.
ROCCO LANDESMAN: Creativity is different than knowledge or intelligence. A smart person can come up with the right answer but not necessarily the surprising or unexpected answer. And the creative person, I think, is necessarily a talented person. And talent is very different than intelligence; it's not really something that can be educated or trained, it's something I think you have or you don't have. We know it when we see it, we know the people who have it, and they're precious.
JOHN SHIGEKAWA: I think that all people are born creative, and then it's how you access your innate talents.
PAULETTE BEETE: Just knowing how to put elements together whether that's food, whether that's clothing, whether that's words on a page, in a way that something interesting happens.
RALPH RWEMINGTON: Creativity is also commensurate with one's ability to break all of the rules, toss it up into the air, and when it sprinkles down, how do they sow those seeds?
CARLOS ARRIEN: Now I'm going to quote Ray Bradbury: “Remember this, love is at the center of your life. The things that you do, should be the things that you love, and the things that you love should be the things that you do.”
PAULETTE BEETE: The end.