In Pursuit of the Creative Life

2016, Number 3

Cover of NEA Arts No 3 2016
About this issue: 

The Oxford Dictionary defines creativity as “the use of imagination or original ideas to create something; inventiveness.” It’s obvious how this applies to artists; they’re probably more closely associated with creativity than any other group of individuals. But what about judges? Urban designers? Police officers? Although their relationship with creativity might be less obvious, their professional lives are entwined with creativity in ways that might surprise you.

For this issue of NEA Arts, we spoke with seven individuals in non-arts fields, and asked them how creativity affects and benefits their work. From an employee of the National Park Service to a mechanical engineer, from a police officer in Oakland to the new Librarian of Congress, these men and women reveal how the pursuit and use of creativity is critical to all of our lives and our communities.

On November 18, 2016, the NEA will be hosting a convening of arts and non-arts leaders in Washington, DC—“In Pursuit of the Creative Life: The Future of Arts and Creativity in America”—to further discuss how creativity manifests itself in different fields and what we can do to help it thrive. In the meantime, we invite you to learn about our Creativity Connects initiative to find out more about how the arts connect to the nation’s creative ecosystem, and to explore an interactive graphic that highlights successful projects, or “bright spots,” across the country where arts and non-arts organizations collaborate to achieve common goals.

Cover Credit: 

Alameda County Sheriff’s Deputy Jinho “The Piper” Ferreira decided to use his creativity to address some of the issues he was facing as a police officer. He wrote a one-man play, Cops and Robbers, in which he portrays 17 characters, depicting the sometimes tense interaction among the police, the communities where they work, and the media who report on them. Photo by Jim Dennis