B. Eldridge1, L. Eldridge1, S. Mullins2

2Stan Mullins Arts Studio (UNITED STATES)
The Renaissance as Teacher
Although it is difficult to think of our world without Michelangelo’s David or Botticelli's Venus, we would be remiss in being so enamored with the art itself that we neglect to appreciate the advancements in technology and entrepreneurship that came out of the Renaissance period. Albrecht Durer leveraged the emerging technology of the printing press to not only distribute and monetize his artworks but to broaden the reach of his brand and influence as well. Michelangelo was highly innovative in the use of tools in quarrying, transporting, and shaping stone. Titian created the concept of a marketplace for artists, a key prerequisite for any business to exist, that evolved into what we refer to today as the “gallery” and can be found on the main street of nearly any size city across the Western world. Using the Renaissance as a teacher, we can build modern frameworks that better prepare individuals for the workforce than methods provided by the current educational paradigm.

Addressing the Skills Gap
According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers, employers are primarily looking for employees who have the ability to work in a team and display critical thinking. Employers are also challenged by the fact that the potential employee pool does not have the STEM-based knowledge or skills needed to fill their positions. Using the lessons learned apprenticeship and studio models utilized during the Renaissance, modern educators can incorporate the three key areas supporting 21st Century skills, innovation, and STEM-based training and education into a single canvas approach.

Contextualizing 21st Century Skills within the Acquisition of other Key Workplace Skills:
Several studies confirm that skills have a higher likelihood of transference into the workplace when they are practiced in authentic work conditions. By integrating the evaluation and coaching of 21st Century skills by mentors who are overseeing STEM-based apprenticeship work by students, both key areas of employability skills gaps are addressed efficiently and in context. Younger learners work on mastering this triumvirate of skills by working on arts-focused STEM projects, older learners have similar experiences in mentor-driven work experiences.

Operationalizing Total Workforce Readiness with CreArté:
Leaders from education, the arts, and business have come together to evolve and assist others in implementing CreArté, a canvas-based framework based on the best principles learned from the Renaissance. The program is designed to help educators and other preparing individuals for the workforce in a manner that incorporates 21st Century skills development integrated into creative and often highly-technical projects. CreArté is a flexible and highly extensible framework, suitable in contexts ranging from small local groups teaching basic math skills and spatial concepts via sculpting projects to large distributed groups attacking problems and social issues such as the digital divide, clean water, and endangered species.

Conclusions and extensions:
CreArté is currently in the process of developing a series of badges and nano-degrees around the foundational skills needed for teachers, mentors, and students to successfully lead and participate in CreArté projects. The model is also organically expanding to support the role of investors and general business advisers as mentors and participants in CreArté projects.