Creative Practice for Renewal

I am about to begin my 12th year of teaching “creative practice” with Arts Corps. When beginning a new year, I enter a period of reflection that begins with looking back on my journey as a student, revisiting the importance of teaching and the relationship that teachers delicately hold with their students, and the significant role of the artist in the educational system. I was child of a military family, sometimes attending three different schools in one year. I discovered from my nomadic education the necessity and crucial role of creative learning led by ‘creative’s.’ I remember learning the most under their tutelage. They kept me engaged and curious about education and this had a powerful affect on my life’s choices and current path. I remember the teachers who inspired curiosity, who questioned the norm and encouraged me to do the same. They pushed me out of my comfort zones to see and to seek a better understanding of what life holds from many perspectives and encouraged me to discover solutions that would benefit the whole.

My work with Arts Corps as a teaching artist and former faculty development manager has pushed me in the same way. Being involved in the development and implementation of the Creative Habits of Mind framework—Imagining Possibilities, Courage and Risk taking, Critical Thinking, Persistence and Discipline, Reflection—I have come to understand on a deep level how the habits have impacted the way I teach and how I live my life. I have learned that creativity is best supported through practice and the habits that are formed through this practice. During the tenure of Arts Corps founder Lisa Fitzhugh, and through the diligent work with the Arts Corps’ team, I developed both an intellectual and an experiential understanding of why these habits are necessary for all of us. These habits are not just for students learning about art or for arts organizations developing effective assessment and evaluation strategies to prove their reason for being. These creative habits are necessary for everyone. With daily practice these habits become tools for living a meaningful life and a practice that supports authentic being!

Since moving on from my position as faculty development manager at Arts Corps, I have continued on with this work, exploring the meaning and application of creative practice with Creative Ground, a new partnership formed with Lisa Fitzhugh and Sarah Bicknell. Creative Ground works with individuals and organizations, using creative practice as a tool to for change and transformation to support collaboration through authentic leadership. Creative Ground has added three more habits to Arts Corps’ five, which include, Present moment awareness, Observation of the Natural World/ Technology Hiatus and Tolerance for ambiguity/Trust. We have found when an individual intentionally integrates creative practice into their daily lives, they are better equipped to effectively address the accelerated pace of change and chaos we are experiencing in the world.

If you are interested in finding out more about creative practice, I invite you to come attend Creative Ground’s, Creative Practice for Renewal and Authentic Leadership for Non-Profit Organizations, happening on October 21st and 22nd at the Whidbey Institute on Whidbey Island. You will come away revitalized, renewed and fortified with creative tools that you can implement on your return.

For more information you can contact me at or go to


Lauren Atkinson
Teaching Artist