Purposeful play in the name of creativity
Mount Mary's Creative Campus takes form in academic seminar
“Our students learn that if they apply attributes of creativity to everyday tasks accompanied by a 'yes, and' philosophy, they can produce positive, unexpected outcomes using the resources at hand.”
Assistant Professor, Art & Graphic Design
Once a month, students in the Honors Program gather for a seminar. This month, they gathered for a task party.
A task party?
TASK is an improvisational event with a simple structure and very few rules. And a task party doesn’t resemble your typical idea of a seminar. But here at Mount Mary, a place where creativity is infused throughout campus, students got into the playful spirit of the event.
Here’s how it works: Every participant writes down a task for someone else to perform. In return, he or she takes a task to complete. Participants work together to accomplish their mission using materials on hand: construction paper, boxes, foil, tape, scissors, markers and yarn.
Sample tasks include: making a bracelet for a new friend; drawing the first letter of your Mom’s name really big; shouting your favorite five things about today; making a giraffe; crowning someone an angel. The possibilities are endless.
The idea spawned from artist Oliver Herring who started TASK events around the world at military bases, museums, churches, schools and other places. These parties are purposeful, in that they quickly connect people in unexpected ways.
“The way people interact with each other socially tends to be very prescribed,” explains Herring in his video blog. Participants use a task to connect with another person, and he or she is not going to question it because it’s very much part of the structure. “Suddenly you engage with a whole lot of people you wouldn’t ordinarily.”
As a Creative Campus, Mount Mary University embraces creativity as a guiding value to curriculum and extracurricular activities. Josh Anderson, assistant professor in art and graphic design, purposely scheduled the TASK experience to occur between classes and encouraged students to bring a friend.
“Having this dash of creativity over a lunch hour is revitalizing and reassuring. Our students learn that if they apply attributes of creativity to everyday tasks accompanied by a “yes, and” philosophy, they can produce positive, unexpected outcomes using the resources at hand.”