Celebrating 'Artober' in Nashville

Posted by Ms. Jennifer J. Cole, Oct 17, 2011 0 comments

With economic gloom dominating the news, it’s invigorating to focus on joy and beauty. At the end of September, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean and the Metro Nashville Arts Commission launched Artober Nashville, the city’s most expansive celebration of the arts and everything creative.

Mayor Karl Dean received a lesson in African Drumming from Tulip Grove second graders Jaidyn MacAdoo during his visit to the school for the launch of Artober Nashville on September 29.

Artober Nashville showcases all artistic genres through more than 250 galleries, music venues, cultural organizations, and neighborhood festivals and more than 550 activities in October. The hope is that Nashvillians will experience “Arts. Everywhere.”

During the month, the city will showcase the International Bluegrass Music Festival and the International Black Film Festival, and additionally, our Grammy Award-winning Nashville Symphony hosts a free day of music, the Frist Center displays Egyptian Treasures from the Brooklyn Museum; and the Rep, the Opera and Ballet will stage unforgettable classics.

Artober Nashville is far more than a PR campaign. In our current climate, cities that thrive do so by focusing on unique assets that drive education, economy and quality of life. We already have more than 38,000 creative jobs in Middle Tennessee—artists, designers, musicians. Despite the economy, key segments of the workforce including film, production and screenwriting are growing here in Music City.

Creativity drives talent recruitment beyond “the arts” in healthcare, higher education and green technologies. The edge for the best jobs goes to those who can define new pathways, multitask across disciplines, and articulate solutions.

A study by The Conference Board, Ready to Innovate, indicates that innovation and creativity are the single leading skills required by top employers. The national study shows that 99 percent of superintendents and 97 percent of employers agreed that “creativity is of increasing importance in the workplace.”

Nashville faces a special challenge--how do we grow our creative sector and fill those jobs with local talent?

At his inauguration, Mayor Dean pledged to double the number of college graduates in five years. We need to increase the number--and ensure those graduates can think beyond standardized tests. That path starts with the arts.

When a student creates a collage, writes a poem, stages a production, or pens a new piece of music, they synthesize their learning from math, science, and English. They innovate.

Nationwide, there is a movement to transform Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) to STEAM by adding and focusing on the arts as elemental to core curriculum. We should kickstart that in Nashville.

Creativity is our special sauce. It bred Chet Atkins and Patsy Cline, sit-ins, and heart transplants.

Artober Nashville celebrates our diverse artistic city and challenges us to invest more in the arts; to frame creativity as the engine, the lifeblood, and the path forward for our great city.

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