Conversations on Creativity

Third Wednesday of the Month, 3-5pm.


For Art Makers, Creators, Viewers, and Appreciators.

PenArt’s newest program — Conversations on Creativity — is your chance to come together with other learners to talk about art and artists. Each month we’ll cover a new topic - from what is creativity and how the creative process works, to aesthetics, the art market and inspiring artists. We’ll explore the topic through articles, podcasts, videos, and/or books. Join us for coffee and lively discussion from 3-5pm on the third Wednesday of the month.

No reservations are necessary and the program is free and open to all.

Links to the monthly read/watch/listen will be made available on this webpage or sign up to be added to the mailing list.


Upcoming Sessions

These sessions will be held via Zoom. Please sign up to receive the video conference information. 


July 15, 2020, 3-5pm

Art and the Environment

This month we'll explore how artists' interactions with the landscape have created a very different kind of modern art - and make us look again at the world around us. From Andy Goldsworthy's beautiful stone sculptures to James Turrell's extraordinary sky spaces, artists are working to create out of nature itself. 


Past Sessions


Visual Intelligence is the ability to see what's there that others don't, and to see what's not there that should be. We'll test our own visual intelligence, and through a Google Talk with Author Amy E. Herman, we'll discover how artists and creatives use visual intelligence and uncover whether we can really improve our own visual intelligence. For additional reading, check out Amy's book, Visual Intelligence: Sharpen Your Perception, Change Your Life.


See how evocative color can be while matching brands with their associated trademarked colors and learn their histories. Find out what happens when a company producing the world’s blackest black decides it can be used by only one artist in the 99% Invisible episode Their Dark Materials. For additional reading, check out the New York Times article “What Is the Perfect Color Worth?”

Good Art, Bad Art, Who Decides?

We'll start off with this month with a bit of humor  and a short video with Jerry Saltz. After that we'll watch a video of  Steve Martin in conversation with Peter Schjeldahl, critic for the New Yorker. Steve and Peter discuss art speak, Peter’s journey from poet to critic, specific artworks and Peter’s process for examining them, and the merits of bad art.

The Art Market

This work of art is worth what?! Explore the ins and outs of the contemporary art market as we listen to Planet Money's podcast Why A Dead Shark Costs $12 Million. For additional reading check out Sarah Thorton's book Seven Days in the Art World.

The Creative Brain

Watch and discuss the documentary The Creative Brain by neuroscientist and best-selling author, David Eagleman. Explore the stories of accomplished professionals from across the creative spectrum and unravel the creative process.

Where Do Ideas Come From?

How do we generate the breakthrough ideas that push forward our lives, our society, our culture?

As the basis for our discussion we'll watch a TED talk by Steven Johnson and another classic TED talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on creativity and inspiration.