Sep
05

Q: What is America's Most Precious Natural Resource?

A: It’s not oil.

“Creativity is America’s most precious natural resource. It’s renewable, unlimited and universally available. Creativity is our heritage, our promise and the source of our prosperity. And, like a natural resource, creativity needs to be respected, conserved, stewarded and celebrated. But, like a natural resource, creativity can be polluted, squandered and blocked”, says Tom Tresser.

Who is Tom Tresser?

Tom Tresser is a consultant, producer, educator and trainer who helps individuals, companies and communities leverage and amplify their creative assets in order to solve problems, create economic value and trigger civic engagement. The name of his company is CreativeAmerica.

I met Tom recently working on a project to bring John Cimino from Creative Leaps Int here to Chicago next week to speak. I just love Tom’s view and passion for creativity and the innovative classes he teaches.

Tom created and has taught “How To Be a Cultural Activist” at DePaul University’s School for New Learning in Chicago, Illinois. This class explores issues of cultural policy and exposes students to the tools and techniques of effective social change organizing. The class uses lecture, guest lecture/performance and field work. The image shows members of the street theater activist group Billionaires for Bush visiting the class. Tom’s other DePaul classes which explore creativity and civic engagement: “Who’s Lying To You Now?” (critical thinking and the media), “The Politics of Creativity,” “Creative Tools for Social Change,” “Building an Online Catalog for Civic Activism in Chicago,” and “International Creativity Policy.”

Tom has also created and taught “The Artist as Activist” for Loyola University’s Theater Department here in Chicago. For this class students formed teams and partnered with campus social change organizations to produce creative events to help those organizations. To learn more about his classes click here.

If you liked Tom’s opening remarks click here to read more from Tom’s Manifesto.

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