Today: Apr 14, 2024

Workshop empowers students to think creatively and improve managerial skills

Photo Courtesy Jen Fengler
John Taubl(left) and Stenley Bridgges from the Sam Ash music store brought along instruments.

OLIVIA RICHMANGeneral Assignment Reporter

They all crouched around an invisible fire and rubbed their hands together, as the audience attempted to guess who they were trying to be, where they were located and what they were doing. Then each of the four women leaped over the made-up fire, landing with their hands in the air.

“We are gymnasts practicing for the Olympics on top of Mount Rushmore!” one of the women said at the end of their silent skit. The audience laughed and clapped as the actresses took a bow.

Who are these four women?

They are business professionals at R. Phyllis Gelineau’s program, “Empowerment Through Creativity,” where participants engage in hands-on activities with creativity is a huge focus.

“I’ve had this idea for a long time,” said Gelineau, a professor emeritus of music at Southern Connecticut State University. “I see what happens to students [in my classes] and some of the things that come out of them would be very useful for managers.”

Gelineau said she feels that what her students get out of art could also benefit managers in many different ways. According to Gelineau, the benefits of the activities that the business professionals are partaking in are many.

“It sharpens sensory awareness, there is a disrupt in habitual thought patterns,” she said. “thinking like a child, looking at things in a different way, making new connections, deepen sensitivity and bring out passion. The program is aimed at business professionals because they can improve managerial skills through experiences in the arts.”

Bonnie Goldberg sells life insurance by day and does theater reviews by night. She said she went to the event because a good friend of hers told her about it and said it would be wonderful.

“I hope to get sparks,” she said, “to rekindle a creative spirit.”

Sol Hitzig is retired but said he would like to be a “concoctor.” He said he went to the event because he believes in laughter and living life.

“I hope to broaden my creative pores,” he said before doing his who, what, where skit with his group in the center of the Adanti Student Center Ballroom.

In the skit, Hitzig acted out Snoopy.

“I thought the play-acting was really helpful,” he said, “and the speaking out. I spoke about my profession, about being a concoctor.”

Goldberg said she also enjoyed the play-acting.

“The who, what, where theater is a little bizarre,” she said, “but you have to think out of the box. I learned to use my sense, to think differently and look and hear differently than I’m used to.”

Hitzig said he also learned a lot.

“I learned you have to be yourself and take the risk,” he said.

Gelineau had a lot more in store for all the business professionals that signed up for the creative event.

“We talked about the nature of creativity,” she said, “and why it’s so important in today’s world. We indicated some of the traits of creative people. We did some activities about taking risks; creative people take risks. Now we’re doing an exercise in drama. Later we will have a dance and learn about movement and do some art projects and music with harmonicas.”

Gelineau said she has been teaching a class called “Experience the Arts” for 25 years and this workshop is based off of it. This was the first time she had a chance to do the workshop.

Gelineau said that she has a book coming out in February 2012 called “Integrating the Arts Into the Classroom Curriculum,” which has similar activities that took place at the “Empowerment Through Creativity” workshop.

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