Rebecca Ross, California State University, Monterey Bay

Capstone Project (B.A.) Liberal Studies Department


Creativity, in its countless forms and expressions, is evident in every aspect of life. The title of one who is deemed to be creative is often reserved for those who wield paintbrushes, cameras, or a well-worn pair of ballet slippers. Yet possessing the quality or power of creating that results from original thought and expression is not limited to college art majors and eccentrics. Creativity plays a role in the life of every person around the globe and has been found to have numerous positive effects. The concrete definition of creativity is the state or quality of being creative; creative ability or process (Webster, 1989). The more creative definition might follow along the lines of Peter Koestenbaumas interpretation that creativity is harnessing universality and making it flow through your eyes (Cameron, 1992, p. 3). Throughout this review the term creativity will be used to encompass both concrete and abstract ideas and all of those acts which involve any part of the creative process and expression of thought, not just those belonging to so-called artists. Beginning with the most basic element, creativity affects the individual on several closely related levels. From birth to passing, a person will travel through many phases of life in which they will explore who they are and what their purpose is. Through creativity, people develop stronger senses of self-esteem and self-confidence as well as the ability to express themselves in unique ways. With these kinds of personal skills they are able to continuously grow, develop, and become productive individuals. Creativity allows people to function within the parameters of their communities and greater societies and to have successful relationships with those around them. Creativity brings meaning to life, gives hope to those in need of a brighter outlook, provides the knowledge that there are choices and opportunities available for living, and even assists in the inevitable process of aging. Beyond the individual, society as a whole encompasses its own set of parameters in which we must learn to exist. From the classroom to the workplace to the one wider social circle, creativity plays a role. For instance, the arts in schools have been a long-standing issue of debate. However, since creativity is not limited to arts programs, it can assist with the learning process as a whole by improving an array of skills as well as grades and test scores. In the workplace, the ability to be creative is a draw for potential employers and a skill that is useful in terms of competition in business and industry. In the larger communities in which people live, creativity and creative expression help them to better understand one another, to appreciate different cultures and points of view, and to deal with unforeseen occurrences such as trauma and disaster.The most far-reaching sector of life involves the role of creativity in the world. Encompassed here are several areas including the global market and economy, problem solving, and historical patterns of creativity throughout time as it applies to survival, discovery, invention, innovation, and progress. Creativity has, and will continue to, enhance the world at large and allow every individual to move toward the future.