Making the environment of your home or workplace more imaginative may seem easier than doing the same for your community; after all, a community is a large and diverse entity. But “What IF… A Festival of Innovation and Imagination,” which took place on Saturday, September 11, in Colorado Springs, is an inspiring illustration of what can happen when people in a given place make a concerted effort to highlight the imaginative potential in their own backyard. T.D. Mobley-Martinez reports on the event in local newspaper The Gazette. According to Deborah Thornton, executive director of Imagination Celebration, which organized What IF, the factors that led to her conception of the festival included: people’s common misguided belief that they’re not creative; and the unfortunate tendency of communities to separate disciplines (“Art in this box. Science in that box. Business in yet another box. And on and on.”). Thornton counters this conventional thought and behavior with her own assertion “that the common denominator of every human is creativity and imagination.” (We at Lincoln Center Institute concur.) The festival aimed to showcase examples of innovation in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado and, in doing so, to generate more. Among the “scheduled experiences” listed on the What IF Web site and in the article are: a robot built from recycled items; training in improvisational performance; paper made from elephant dung (!); vegetable oil used as fuel; a discussion about improvements in geriatric health care; and various artistic performances and displays. It seems clear that, in Mobley-Martinez’s words, this was truly “a festival without familiar limits.” And—better yet—one of its sponsors was Colorado Creative Industries, which will host an Imagination Conversation at Denver Botanic Gardens on October 20.
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