We are in the middle of a really hard time! This global pandemic is like nothing most of us could have even imagined in our wildest sci-fi dreams. Many articles I’ve read lately are full of economic doom and gloom. Yes, we have a tough road ahead. However, the creativity we’ve seen from people during quarantine has been uplifting and astounding! This silver lining is the way forward. As I mentioned in my recent blog post, Why Having Skills for the Creative Economy is More Important Than Ever , the term Creative Economy was originally developed by John Howkins in 2001 to describe economic systems where value is based on novel imaginative qualities, rather than the traditional resources of land, labor and capital. This is an evolving concept and I would argue that it is not just in industries viewed as creative, but rather creativity throughout the entire economy. If this was true before, it is exponentially true now. Creativity is at the very heart of all innovation and that is precisely what we need now to move forward in new ways. Things won’t be going back to exactly the way we were. Whether or not businesses survive and people financially thrive, depends in large part to their ability to creatively design a new normal. Did you know Newton formulated his theory of gravity and Shakespeare wrote King Lear while quarantined during the plague? Let’s look at some of the creative things people have done during this quarantine. Sharon van Rouwendaal, an Olympic swimmer from the Netherlands, needed a way to keep training after all of the pools closed down, so she devised a way to tie an elastic resistance band to herself and a tree and swims laps, in place, in a small inflatable kids’ pool. She was quoted as saying “There is always an alternative. You just have to be creative.” Every morning at 11am, the 81 dancers of the Australian Ballet log into Microsoft Teams to join their morning quarantine class. Many small business owners have found creative solutions that allow them to stay in business, at least partially. In addition to selling online and offering different kinds of classes online, businesses are responding to the challenge with outside-the-box thinking. Several local hair salons have started offering curbside pick-up for customer-assembled home hair color kits for their clients. Necker’s Toyland, a toy store in Connecticut, is offering FaceTime browsing options where they walk kids around the store so they can pick out toys. The Wheelhouse Cycle Club in Canada, a fitness studio that offered spinning classes, was closing their doors due to COVID 19 when they came up with the idea to rent out their bikes. So they started delivering their bikes to people’s houses. People were stuck inside with no way to exercise at home. Then they began doing classes on Instagram and they have found that people were tuning in all over North America. So once they are able to re-open, this new way of doing business will likely remain a part of what they offer! I could go on and on. So why I am I writing about this? Because now, more than ever, we must nurture the creativity of our children and youth. There are many ways to do this, but one awesome way is through our Outside the Box Creation art projects which offer some structure and criteria, while encouraging individual creativity and creative problem solving. Art is not the only way to do this, and beware, not all art projects actually encourage creativity. However, our philosophy has always been that the richness is in the open ended creative process not in the product, in other words, there are no wrong answers in art!