The Arts and Cognition

By Dr. Clar M. Baldus,
Administrator, Inventiveness, Rural Schools and Visual Arts Programs;
Belin-Blank Center


What do the gifted physicist, painter, cellist, mathematician, poet, and historian have in common?  Although the language and symbols they use may be different, the artist and scientist (or mathematician, etc.) are, in some cases, the very same person and one who is generally characterized as a “polymath.”

Although extraordinary polymaths like Leonardo da Vinci and Hildegard von Bingen are rare, the type of interdisciplinary thinking they employed is not.  The cognitive tools we associate with the arts– such as imaging, recognizing patterns, modeling, and playing– also play a role in creative solutions across fields.  Robert and Michele Root-Bernstein have studied the “thinking tools” utilized by those who are both artists and experts in other fields.  Their book, Sparks of Genius:  The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World’s Most Creative People, provides engaging examples of these multi-talented individuals throughout history and encourages us to explore the thinking processes for ourselves.

To examine the intersection of the arts and other disciplines and its impact of on talent development, the Belin-Blank Center is bringing both co-authors of Sparks of Genius, to Iowa City for the 6th Biennial Belin-Blank Center Advanced Leadership Institute (BBALI) on June 23 & 24.  This event is a ‘must’ for educators who want to join the dialogue and gain a deeper understanding of the complexities of gifted students successful in the arts and how this affects their other academic experiences.

A three-hour optional pre-institute, “Fine Arts Skills and Concepts in Iowa Core” is offered in collaboration with the Iowa Department of Education.

Take advantage of our Bring-a-Colleague Special Registration Discount!  If you have questions, please contact me.

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