Summary for 2014-2015

Summary for 2014-2015

The Creativity Commons focused its activities this year in two areas: continued expansion of our work with Cambridge and Boston community partners through a variety of initiatives, and deepened engagement with faculty and administrators within the University through conversations and convening on creativity applied to curriculum and pedagogy.  The increase in our visibility, accessibility and usage of the Commons throughout the year was due largely to our collaborative work with university partners.  We continued to meet with the provost and deans within the four schools to explore course and program development and to craft various projects for faculty and students to meet the schools’ academic priorities.  Listed below are the projects, conversations, events, convenings and symposium that the Commons hosted with partners within the university and the broader community.


  • Cambridge Creativity Commons

A major focus of our work continued to be the academic and administrative oversight of the Cambridge Creativity Commons (CCC), where the ideas of the Commons came to life within the Cambridge Public Schools.  The success of the CCC in reaching over 450 students and 15 teachers in the Cambridge Public Schools both during the day and out-of-school time is a credit to careful planning and a gifted director, Lesley alum, Kyle Brown.  Our success in fundraising over the past three years has allowed us to offer the program free of charge to the children of East Cambridge, those who would be least able to access arts instruction outside without this program.

  • Sidewalk Math

Collaborative project of LU Trustee Art Bardige, faculty and students, and the Boston Children’s Museum to engage young children in learning mathematical patterns by walking, hopping, jumping, and skipping through colorful designs on the sidewalk.

  • In-FUSION Project

Davis Educational Foundation funded project to integrate visual literacy across the College of Art & Design and College of Liberal Arts & Sciences.

  • Design and Digital Learning
  • Collaborative project of the College of Art & Design and Graduate School of Education to design curriculum and pedagogy for a new program that prepares graduates for careers in design & digital learning.
  • OC4: Observation of 21st Century Skills in Communication, Collaboration, Creativity and Critical Thinking
  • Online Creativity Commons Initiative

Project to expand the Creativity Commons philosophy and practices to a global community in collaboration with the Sam Francis Foundation.

Creative Conversations

  • Lella Gandini, All You Wanted to Know about Reggio but were Afraid to Ask
  • Gene Diaz and Martha McKenna, OC4: 21st Century Skills: Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking in Light of Reggio Emilia
  • Philip Yenawine, Visual Literacy
  • Celebrating Maxine Greene’s Legacy of Imagination and Creativity, Scott Noppe-Brandon, Madeline Holzer, Mary Ann Cappiello, Martha McKenna
  • Digital Imagining and its Relationship to the Arts, Education, and Therapy, Oscar Palacio, Angelica Pinna-Perez, Julia Byers, Steven Koppel, Kristi Oliver
  • Book Talk on Dr. Daniel Goleman’s What Makes a Leader: Why Emotional Intelligence Matters, led by Dr. Susan Gere and Dr. Nancy Waring
  • Book Talk on Dr. Pedro Noguera’s Excellence Through Equity: Five Principles of Courageous Leadership to Guide Achievement for Every Student, led by Dr. Brenda Matthis and Dr. Paul Naso
  • Book Talk on Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life, led by Dr. Angelica Pinna-Perez and Dr. Nancy Jo Cardillo

Creative Conversations in Partnership

The Commons collaborated in the Creativity Forum, the Institute for Arts and Health and the Global Center to host a series of conversations and presentations focused on creativity across the disciplines and around the world.

  • Poetry Reading: 21st Century American Poems, Danielle Georges, March 30, 2015
  • Reading, MFA in Creative Writing Faculty, March 30, 2015
  • Presentation & Exhibition: The Base of Everything, Bay Muse & the Space Between Us, Shaun McNiff, March 30, 2015
  • Creativity Forum Featured Speaker: Dr. Pedro Noguera, March 30, 2015
  • Presentation & Exhibition: Photographic Meditations on Light & Water, Terry Keeney, March 31, 2015
  • Presentation: Medieval Patronage, Mary Dockray-Miller, March 31, 2015
  • Presentation/Panel: The Creativity Commons, Martha McKenna & Guests, March 31, 2015
  • Creativity Forum Featured Speaker: Dr. Mae Carol Jemison, March 31, 2015
  • Presentation: Art’s reduction of recidivism, community building, and self-confidence building in correctional facilities, Stephanie Rosario Rodriguez, April 1, 2015
  • Multimedia Poetry Reading: Two Creatives Converge, Anne Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier, April 1, 2015
  • Presentation/Panel: Lesley Alumni Arts and Education in Cambridge Schools, Vivian Poey & Guests, April 1, 2015
  • Creativity Forum Featured Panel Discussion: Creativity in Context, Mags Harries, Eric Lander, Tod Machover, Dr. David. H. Rose, Kara Miller, April 1, 2015
  • Presentation: Painting and art historical research, Anthony Apesos, April 2, 2015
  • Presentation: Pedagogy in Progress, Amy Morrison, Nancy Jo Cardillo, Krystal Demaine, April 2, 2015
  • Creativity Forum Featured Speaker: Dr. Daniel Goleman, April 2, 2015
  • Creativity Forum Featured Speaker: Twyla Tharp, April 2, 2015

Hosted and Sponsored Events at the Commons

  • Strauch-Mosse Visiting Artist Selection Committee
  • Boston Public School District Early Childhood Department Convenings
  • Creativity Forum Planning Group Convenings
  • Ecological Teaching and Learning Theses Presentations
  • International Students Convenings
  • Community of Practice for Online Learning in GSOE
  • VSAM (Very Special Arts Massachusetts) Strategic Planning
  • Kennedy-Longfellow Project Long-term Planning
  • Visual Arts Student Portfolio Presentations
  • eLIS Brown Bag Technology Luncheons
  • Cambodian Living Arts Project Visioning with the Center for Global Arts & Health
  • Art Education Partnership Strategic Planning Initiative


  • McKenna, M. B. (2015) Narrative Inquiry as an Approach for Aesthetic Experience: Life Stories in Perceiving and Responding to Works of Art.  The Journal of Aesthetic Education, Winter Edition.
  • Bardige, A., Diaz, G., Liu-Constant, Y., McKenna, M. B., McQuade, R. and Vierling-Claassen, A.  (2015) Sidewalk Math Footbook.
  • Proposal Submitted for Creative Process at Work with Harvard Education Press.
  • Proposal Submitted for Communities of Practice in Arts Integration with Teachers College Press.

Working Partnerships

  • Massachusetts Cultural Council:

Youth Art Initiative

  • Arts Education Partnership: 

            Research Fellows

            Higher Education Working

  • Very Special Arts Massachusetts:

Worcester Art Museum Accessibility Planning

  • Cambridge Community Foundation, Cambridge Public Schools and the Cambridge Arts Council:

Cambridge Creativity Commons

  • Boston Public Schools:

Arts Expansion Initiative

  • Cambridge Community Foundation:

Youth Group Planning

  • Joy2Learn Foundation: 

Creative Process as Pedagogy online course offering

Grant Activity in Collaboration with the Office of Grants and Sponsored Projects

Grants Received 2014-2015

Thanks to the generosity of the funders below, the Creativity Commons received over $300,000 to support programs across the university and in the community:

  • Art & Betty Bardige
  • Cambridge Community Foundation
  • Davis Educational Foundation
  • Francisco Fund   
  • Esther B. Kahn Charitable Foundation
  • Massachusetts Cultural Council
  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education
  • Ramsey McCluskey Family Foundation

Grants Submitted 2014-2015:

  • National Endowment for the Arts $27,950 (not awarded)

Grant Writing Workshop

  • Spring Faculty Development Day