Lincoln Center Institute: Promoting Individuality and Community through the Arts

Photo by Iñaki Vinaixa

It was once proposed, by someone who liked our work, that it was Lincoln Center Institute’s (LCI’s) mission to “build bridges between art and life so that children may learn to see the world transformed by the artist’s vision.”

Very close, but… There is danger incipient in that statement that the students will only see an artist’s point of view. What’s missing is the students’ contribution in the process; what’s missing is the act of free will.

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Changes in the Education Systems of East Asian Countries Look to the West

Image by David Woo*

Success carries its own need for change

Since World War II, East Asia has had the fastest-growing economy in the world. Japan was rapidly joined by China, Singapore, South Korea, and other nations seemingly swept along by each other’s successes in the marketplace.

From the beginning of its post-war ascent, East Asia has made education a priority. Now, the face of its education is changing. While this is much less debated than the economy, it is certain to have a profound effect on East Asian rapport with the West.

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Technology and the Arts: Can They Play Well Together?

The impact of technology on the arts has been a matter of debate at least since we had to be reminded to turn off our cell phones in performance halls.

At Lincoln Center Institute (LCI), we always prided ourselves on espousing the latest technology, but we also insisted on engagements with live performances. This duality was not easy to maintain, especially in a frosty economic climate, and, early on, technology came to the rescue in the form of video. After the students have attended a performance, they need something that will stay with them and be available as long as they study the subject: video allowed us to bring storytellers, chamber ensembles, and Shakespeare to classrooms where being stranded without technology would have meant being stranded without art.

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Imagination: The Greatest Problem Solver

Image by IICD*

When hurricane Irene hit, we instinctively looked to the individuals and organizations whom we admire for their imaginative strength to do something practical, something that would instantly come to the aid of those in need, without speeches, without philosophical observations, without ideological investment in the future. Something practical—now.

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Imagination Abroad

While Lincoln Center Institute’s advocacy on behalf of imagination, creativity, and innovation in education and all aspects of life and work constantly gains new ground in the U.S., we are acutely aware that there are many parts of the world where our ideology has not yet made inroads. Since a part of our vision is determinedly global, as we believe that imaginative education must nurture a deep understanding of diverse cultures, it is encouraging to know that we’re by no means alone.

In July, as LCI readied for its own American Imagination Summit, GFEN held a series of nationwide conferences with the theme “For an Other Education.” Promising—but, ask you, what is GFEN?

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Imagination First Comes Out in Paperback

In their 2009 book Imagination First: Unlocking the Power of Possibility, Imagination Now contributors Eric Liu and Scott Noppe-Brandon debunked a few myths, took imagination off its lofty pedestal, and made their premise clear: everyone has imagination! It is an essential cognitive skill that this society needs in large supplies if it is to meet the future head-on, and since it is a skill, it must be practiced.

The pragmatic approach, resulting in the description of actual imagination practices that are at the core of the book, paid off: the readers were at the very least intrigued, at best they were inspired to change their work strategies, their academic practices, even their private lives. They came from fields of interest as diverse as those of the imagination practitioners described on the book’s pages: think food retailer, teacher, marine corps officers.

Imagination First has just been reprinted in paperback edition. There was a specific purpose to this second edition: to reflect on what had been learned since the first edition, to “enhance” the book with additional texts and information, and, given its original success, to make sure that it reached the widest audience ever. Continue reading

LCI Joins Channel Thirteen in a Celebration of Education

On March 18 and 19, WNET will sponsor the 2011 Celebration of Teaching and Learning. From Mehmet Oz to Oliver Sacks to Leymah Gbowee, each year the Celebration brings together extraordinary thinkers of our era, and whether their expertise lies in technology or health sciences, all come to discuss the state of education and the possibilities for its future.

Common Core standards in Math and ELA will be addressed, as will STEM, autism, and other burning issues—not forgetting the arts and creativity, which is where Lincoln Center Institute comes in.

We are proud to announce that Scott Noppe-Brandon, LCI’s Executive Director and author of Imagination First, and Ashley Merryman, award-winning journalist who has covered the “Creativity Crisis” beat in both book and newspaper, will present a panel on the subject of imagination, creativity, and innovation in schools: the “ICI Continuum.” Book signings will take place at the event and are hosted by Barnes & Noble.

The Celebration takes place at the New York Hilton. For exact location, times, and detailed information about the program and the speakers, go to http://thirteencelebration.org/