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  • Writer's pictureJeffrey Nytch

A Special Edition of "Field Notes": MacDowell Discoveries


Some Introductory Thoughts I’m just off a three week residency at MacDowell, and it was nothing short of transformational. As I post this it’s exactly one month since I left, yet part of me remains in that magical place. The process of transitioning from “leaving part of myself behind at MacDowell” to “bringing MacDowell back with me into my daily life” is ongoing...and complex. So this is an unusual “Field Notes” – a little more personal than usual. (You’ve been warned!)

(For those of you who are reading “Field Notes” for the first time, this is my periodic blog where I reflect on the nature of creativity, challenges facing higher ed and the performing arts, and the role of arts entrepreneurship in preparing our students for careers in the arts that are financially sustainable and artistically fulfilling. You can check out past entries in the series, as well as other random blog posts, here.)

My time at MacDowell was not just a substantial artistic experience (though it certainly was that), it also raised a lot of questions for me about what makes a place (or institution) optimal for nurturing the creative spirit. Spending three weeks someplace that does that exceptionally well also revealed in stark terms just how badly our educational institutions fail at it. And so this extended edition of “Field Notes'' will first explore three things I’ve learned are absolutely essential to a healthy and nurturing creative environment; each of these has their own section below. Then, a fourth section ponders the implications of these three things in the field of higher ed – specifically, the performing arts, though I think the lessons are applicable more broadly.

Veterans of “Field Notes” will note a considerably longer format than usual. Part of that is simply due to the enormity of the experience and its many facets; another part is so I can dispense with the need for repeated dry preambles if I were to break this up into multiple installments. So, forge ahead, intrepid reader, and feel free to read in chunks. Most of all, enjoy this Special Edition of Field Notes:

MacDowell Discoveries ~or~ Thoughts on nurturing the creative spirit (and how higher education misses the mark)


Read the full blog here:

Field Notes from MacDowell
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