Imagination Conversation Report: Big Thought, Texas

Here’s another in our series of posts about Imagination Conversations. There are certain organizations around the U.S. that are, like Lincoln Center Institute, committed to imagination in education. Big Thought, located in Dallas, Texas, is a leader among them. (Read about its accomplishments here.) I was therefore honored to deliver the keynote address at the event I discuss below. I witnessed understanding of the Conversations’ mission there, as well as Big Thought’s leadership role in what is already happening in their area and across the country.

The Texas Imagination Conversation, hosted by Big Thought, happened on October 14 at the brand-new AT&T Performing Arts Center’s Dee and Charles Wyly Theatre in Dallas. Dick Deasy, former director of the Arts Education Partnership, moderated a discussion between such impressive panelists as: Ballet Austin Artistic Director Stephen Mills; Dr. Jeffrey Davis, director of the NASA Space Life Sciences Directorate at the Johnson Space Center; Delores Etter, director of Southern Methodist University’s Caruth Institute for Engineering Education; and Ygnacio Garza, member of the board of directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, San Antonio Branch. Volunteer journalists documented subsequent “breakout sessions,” in which attendees talked about issues the panel raised and offered their own expertise as they assessed the state of imagination in Texas. Students got to watch a simulcast of the panel discussion and participate in their own breakout sessions.

Gigi Antoni, the impressive president and CEO of Big Thought, a Dallas nonprofit organization whose mission is “to make imagination a part of everyday learning,” says about Texas: “In a state with many voices, backgrounds, industries, and perspectives, a culture of imagination will be the linchpin in ensuring a unified start to the 21st century.” She goes on to call imagination “a bridge builder” that “marries thought to action, combines fields of work, and connects people and lives.” Returning her focus to Texas, Antoni notes, “If our citizens have a place to stretch their thoughts and float their ideas, we can face any challenge to come in the years ahead.”

More Imagination Conversation Reports will appear soon!

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