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Lifelong Creative Learning

In a previous issue of OOM, Dr. Dennie Wolf drew our attention to three books that raise “important questions about the role that arts and cultural organizations could play in breaking down the stubborn correlation between a young person’s wealth…and the likelihood that her gifts will be discovered and cultivated.” Dr. Wolf stirs us to think about plasticity in not only children’s development, but throughout one’s life. Too often we are under the impression that as we age, our opinions, habits, feelings, and prospects become ever-more crystallized, and our futures increasingly pre-determined by our pasts. This is, however, an illusion, fostered only by the network of correlated constraints we each encounter in our routine daily lives. It is only when some extraordinary effort is undertaken or some truly unusual event occurs that these networks become disrupted, and the malleability of our development, at any age, is rediscovered. Perhaps this explains to some extent the transformative power of arts and culture, which whether through sustained outreach programs or a single event may change lives by disrupting networks so that new ones can be created.

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