A Creativity Crisis?


It is happening in Grant County.

It is happening in New Mexico and across the United States.

Instructional time and resources for arts education have been eliminated or reduced in schools across the United States, including Grant County.

So what?  Is the loss of a few kids’ painting classes or clay projects a big deal?

Actually, yes, it is big deal!

The effects of the infamous No Child Left Behind Act of 1990 are alarming:

  • Creativity scores in the U.S. have declined 40 percent since 1990, with the steepest decline in children kindergarten through sixth grade. (1)
  • It has been estimated that in the current educational environment, children lose up to 70 percent of their creative capacity by the age of 10. (2)


This is a serious problem, and it is not just artists and art teachers who recognize it.

In 2010, Newsweek magazine devoted its cover story to the impending creativity crisis. In fact, this decline was assessed as one of the biggest risks to America’s leadership position in innovation and economic competitiveness.

The good news is that our nation is waking up to the fact that creativity is a fundamental building block in the development of great leaders, thinkers and innovators. In an IBM study, 1,500 top-ranked CEOs identified creativity as the most important leadership competency of the future. (3)

Creativity and its business counterpart, innovation, are widely viewed as the change agent of economic recovery and an engine of the 21st century economy.  A sustained engagement with arts-based learning has been proven to strengthen critical thinking, problem solving and goal setting while at the same time developing a sense of craftsmanship and quality task performance.  These are the very fundamental skills that are vital to the next knowledge-based economy.


Creativity should be viewed as a vital asset in our community’s portfolio as we invest in the future. We should pay special attention to the value of organizations that support creative collaboration and engagement and, most importantly, ensure all children have access to meaningful arts programming.

Mimbres Region Arts Council is taking steps to address the creativity crisis in our own community. Our new mission statement is deceptively simple: Nurture a creative community. We envision a thriving community that inspires creativity and enriches education. We are exploring partnerships that expand our abilities to develop creativity in our youth. Partnerships that will better prepare Grant County’s next generation of thought leaders, artists, innovators, and a motivated work force.



  • Re-think: reconsider your ideas about creativity…no longer should it only apply to pretty pictures, catchy songs…Creativity means business…a world-wide, $4.3 trillionbusiness. To give you some perspective…that is roughly 2.5 times more than the entire world’s military spending. (4)
  • Tune in: Listen how many times the words creativity and innovation are used to describe success in business, government and life. Many believe these ideas have reached or nearly reached a tipping point in our collective consciousness.
  • Ask: Parent participation in school is welcome and expected. It is important for you as a parent to ask questions and share your ideas. Are the arts included in the school’s budget?  Are there full-time arts teachers—in music, visual art, dance, theater?  Does every grade receive arts instruction? Does the school have partnerships with arts organizations? If I have questions about the arts in my child’s school, who is the best person to ask?
  •  Watch Here and There: Check back here, at Grant County Beat Columns, regularly for new installments in the Creativity Counts series.


(1) The Decline of Creativity in the United States . Interview with Kyung Hee Kim, an associate professor of educational psychology at the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.Encyclopedia Britannic Blog.

(2) Do schools today kill creativity?” TED Talk by Sir Ken Robinson.

(3) The Most Important Leadership Quality for CEOs? Creativity. Fast Company Magazine by Austin Carr.

(4) The Orange Economy: An Infinite Opportunity. Felipe Buitrago Restrepo, Iván Duque Márquez.

As published in Grant County Beat; January 10, 2017