Artist-inventors have changed the world

As if being an artist weren't enough. As if it's not enough to create beautiful things, question the status quo, and make the rest of us look at the world differently. Apparently, artists have been inventing incredibly useful (and profitable!) stuff for centuries.

A blog post on Psychology Today questions the wisdom of cutting funding for the arts: "Let's see what happens when we start throwing out all the science and technology that the arts have made possible."

The authors then go on to credit artists for everything from electronic screens to surgical stitches to bridge design. They conclude:

Bottom line: Successful scientists and inventors are artistic people. Hobble the arts and you hobble innovation. It's a lesson our legislators need to learn. So feel free to cut and paste this column into a letter to your senators and congressmen, as well as your school representatives, or simply send them a link to this column. One way or another, if we as a society wish to cultivate creativity, the arts MUST be part of the equation!

I'm not telling you anything you don't know. I am saying that we need to be better advocates for the arts. It starts locally.

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8 thoughts on “Artist-inventors have changed the world”

  1. I completely agree.
    I disagree with the two comments above, modern society, the govt is so involved in shaping the children, that lack of art, which includes all the arts, music, visual, creative writing even, etc, would drastically hamper innovation.
    I’m signed up for the Americans for the Arts action site, where I can contact my represenatives about art legislation, and they email me about it. I have children, and even the limited arts in public school, helps them to do better in the other subjects as well. I can’t explain why, but having lived in two different places, one where arts were prominent in the schools, and now one where they are not, the comparision of their interest in school, and achievements are staggering. It’s not what you’d think. In the school where arts were more prominent, they loved school, learned faster, were involved in more activities, etc, compared to the school where the arts are few. Both are public schools, but in different states, just my personal experience and observations here, I might be biased, because I love the arts, but I honestly think that my kids were getting a much better education at the school that had more arts

  2. Thanks for sharing this article, Allison. I like the quote it includes (by Max Planck): “the creative scientist needs an artistic imagination”.

  3. I concur. Art education is vital. I am a artist whose day job is teaching computer programming. I have a BFA and an MS. My best students are those who are also creative (musicians, opera singers, artists, etc) Why? Because they know how to solve problems. Other students want/need step by step in instructions on everything and get very very frustrated when asked to solve problems rather than follow instructions. Thinking and innovation requires the ability to creatively solve problems.

  4. What we really need to solve our serious economic, environment problems is creative thinking–how will we ever solve our problems if no one learns how to think creatively!

  5. Alyson B. Stanfield

    Richard: I don’t think anyone is saying art would disappear without public funding. I think they’re saying that funding helps nurture the arts and innovation. We do know that without funding, the arts are disappearing from our schools, which makes access incredibly difficult for many children–especially the underprivileged.

    Shea and Constance: Thank you for your personal experiences. Nice to have the parent’s and educator’s perspectives.

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