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Art Thinking

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Art Thinking

How to Carve Out Creative Space in a World of Schedules, Budgets, and Bosses


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

To become more creative, use the methods you’ve learned in business.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative


Educator and writer Amy Whitaker combines her talents in art and business to explain how they serve one another. She proposes using a mind-set she calls “art thinking” to harness the joy and creative thought of making art in tandem with the structure and organization of business. Each chapter addresses one aspect of the creative process, from development to making financial decisions to producing your project. Whitaker offers activities to spur creative thinking and provides a step-by-step guide for allocating project resources. Her grounded business approach provides a path to creative work that won’t break the bank. Creative people will benefit from her manual, which getAbstract also suggests to managers who lead creative people but must maintain productive constraints.


The “Art Thinking” Framework

Art thinking fuels the realization that art and business serve one another. It uses art as a guide to engaging in a process and adopts business as a system in which creativity can operate. Art thinking is a mind-set that forges a partnership between the creative excitement of exploration and the structure and organization of business. Art is the exploration of “inventing point B”, that is, creating “something new in the world that changes the world” instead of just going from A to B. Long-term business success depends on inventing point B, but short-term performance pressures make it hard to carve out space to do that. Art thinking combines “mind-sets of art” and “tools of business” to move forward in any field with MBA-MFA thinking.

“Aerial View”

Taking a wide view of your work allows you to establish guideposts and benchmarks. In their book The Power of Full Engagement, collaborators Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz described four types of energy: “mental, emotional, spiritual and physical.” Elite athletes, for example, don’t work with just one energy source; they switch among all four to allow each one to rest.


About the Author

Amy Whitaker is an assistant professor in the Department of Art and Art Professions at New York University. She writes and teaches about the intersection of creativity, business and life. She holds a Yale MBA and an MFA from the Slade School of Fine Art at University College London.

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    A. A. 6 years ago
    Finally a book which talks about creating your own reality rather than accepting/ bearing the reality you are already in.

    Although, what is missing is a relatable success story for the approach outlined, risks associated with getting into this approach and getting out of it without long term/ permanent damage if things aren't going as expected.