Creativity Unleashed, Ferris State University Alumni Dayna Walton

Creativity is one of the most important 21st-century workplace skill according to the National Education Association, Applied Educational Systems, and others.

Without this fundamental skill, the most pressing challenges facing our societies will remain unexamined and unsolved.

But is creativity something that can simply be taught? Is it a skill? A habit? Can one read a book or view a video on creativity and become creative?

Like most attributes, I believe it can come in many forms and exists in various degrees. But as an educator and counselor, and a big proponent of the concept of the Growth Mindset research, I do believe that creativity can be developed in our students.

One way to help our understand develop an appreciation and understanding of creativity is to learn about those who have demonstrated a high level of creative expression. While I do not believe that creativity ought to be relegated to the world of artistic expression, this often is an easy entry point and source of inspiration to help us expand beyond our analytical mindset and broaden our perspective.

Ferris State University/Kendall School of Art and Design graduate, Dayna Walton exemplifies the courageous and entrepreneurial spirit and impressive artistic ability that helps us deepen our ability to reflect and observe the world in a new way.

Dayna has a deep love of nature and this shows in her work and in her experiences as an artist in residence at Great Smoky Mountain National Park that she shares on her wonderful blog and website, Solstice Handmade.

From the Ferris State website, Dayna says:

“I want my work to get people talking about nature, and to spark their memories of experiences they had outdoors that shaped them. The most beautiful thing about nature is that anyone can experience it. There are no barriers. It’s all around us and it doesn’t cost anything.

So, it’s a call to be more present and observant of the natural world around us. A lot of my imagery focuses on plants and animals that people don’t always notice, but are very important parts of the natural system. It’s also about exploring our connection to nature, and how there are parallels between that relationship and the relationships between different organisms, the cyclical interconnectedness of everything.”

As we challenge ourselves to be more creative and curious about the world we live in, I invite you to read more about this artist, spend some time in nature and try one amazing new creative endeavor- write a poem, sketch, sing, dance, code, make-but just create something.

Taking the risk to be creative has enriched my life, I am going to guess it will enrich yours as well.

What a gift we can give to our students- to be curious, creative and passionate. Let me know how you inspire your students to be creative!

For the alumi profile about Dayna Walton, please check out this link.

The image above is Smog, from her BFA thesis.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. Why is creativity an important 21st century skill?
  2. According to Growth Mindset research, can creativity be developed or learned?
  3. Describe Dayna Walton’s attitude towards nature.
  4. How can you become more creative?

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