From The Nation:
Every moment of major social change requires a collective leap of imagination. Political transformation must be accompanied not just by spontaneous and organized expressions of unrest and risk but by an explosion of mass creativity. Little wonder that two of the most maligned jobs during the forty years after Richard Nixon’s 1968 election sealed the backlash of the “silent majority” were community organizer and artist. Obama was both. So why haven’t community organizers and artists been offered a greater role in the national recovery?
What we might call “the creativity stimulus” goes far beyond job creation and even economic development. Culture is not just something conservatives wage war on. The arts are not just something liberals dress up for on weekends. Creativity can be a powerful form of organizing communities from the bottom up. The economic crisis gives us a chance to rethink the role of creativity in making a vibrant economy and civil society. Artists as well as community organizers cultivate new forms of knowledge and consciousness. One of the unsung stories of the past twenty-five years is how both have used creativity to inspire community development and renewal. Creativity has become the glue of social cohesion in times of turmoil.