Institute for Creativity
Welcome to the Thirdofeight Institute for Creativity! We are the educational arm of a unique creative community based out of Springville, Utah.
Our mission is to help students develop their individual creative capacity.
We help students discover their own potential by looking inside themselves. We cultivate a space of inspiration and provide access to relevant skills. We prepare students to cope with a changing world by enabling them to become both adaptable and fiercely independent. We do this by cultivating a culture of child-like curiosity while advocating principles of universal truth.
The Institute is part of a larger network of creative people who associate as a community in order to collaborate with and facilitate each other's needs. These connections provide an invaluable network of relationships, people, and opportunities that students can expect to tap into as they themselves invest in the movement.
HOW TO JOIN
Our next semester begins on October 1st, with a recurring Beginning of Term Feast! Enroll today, or come see us during one of our open houses, held every Saturday until Halloween. This is the address.
HOW DO WE DO IT?
We are story makers. Basically, we train students to do what we do.
First, we provide opportunities to inspire and awaken wholesome story-oriented desires in students. We then go about demonstrating the basics of the skills and techniques that correspond to those goals. Additionally, we coach them in the fundamental principles that undergird all truth and all arts and provide them with ample opportunities to actively apply what they are learning in real-world contexts. We harness the power of our network of morally supportive, like-minded creative people in order to teach, train, guide, inspire, and further challenge students in these ways.
Thing is, not all stories look the same. We help students connect to a self-determined story medium, and then cultivate that within them.
WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
A mentor is assigned to each student at the beginning of his story creation journey. This personal coach of sorts is a student's first line of defense, information, and access to the resources of the institute. The mentor has the responsibility to assess and assist the student in navigating and connecting throughout the learning path and process. The role of the mentor adapts to the changing capacity of the student.
One of the first responsibilities of a mentor is to help the student discern which story format is most natural to him. Each student will be sorted into basically one of three groups: Microcosmic internal (performance arts), microcosmic external (crafts people), and macrocosmic (authors/directors/dungeon masters).
Once a mentor determines a student's preferred story format, the student is invited to enroll in an exploratory class. This environment will expose the student to a variety of story forms that fit within the broader category the student falls within. This will allow the student to expand his awareness of the diversity of forms that might be harnessed to convey his stories according to his already existing proficiencies.
Specialized Hands-on Instruction
Once a student gets perspective on the types of forms his stories take and decides where to invest his time, the mentor will help the student connect to story specialist. We offer a variety of specialized skills and story-oriented trainings listed here.
These hands-on classes can last anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours in length, and generally happen once a week. Length and frequency depend largely on the subject, the number of students attending per class, and the current level of expertise of current participants.
Field trips and other applied learning experiences are an integral part of learning to tell good stories, and we incorporate them often.
On certain occasions, special experiences, skills, and/or tools may require costs in addition to the price of general enrollment. Specialized shoes, clothing, musical instruments, uncommon construction materials, and ticketed access are some examples of these extra financial requirements. In this event, costs will be made clear to parents and students before students engage in the particular activity.
Principles & Patterns Discussions
Each Wednesday we devote one meeting a week for an hour and a half to discuss the foundational principles of the nature of the world. These are the principles which define us and govern the creative process. They also unite our creative community, and are the principles upon which the hand-ons specialized instruction are based. A deeper understanding of these principles will assist students in comprehending and gaining competence in their skills, as well as helping them integrate into our community more quickly.
These virtual classes are more like open discussions where students can learn at their own speed from a mentor who adapts the ideas to the level of understanding of the group. These principles are listed and explained in detail, and can be read and studied in our manual, which can be downloaded here.
Market, Performance, and Gallery Days
The institute operates and hosts a number of market, performance, and gallery venues throughout the week. We run a fully functional old-time fantasy marketplace in which students are invited to participate as active contributors. We also have open mic night, as well as an ongoing temporary outdoor garden gallery for painters, sculptors, and other more traditional artists.
Fantasy Market Days
Our Friday market is a chance for students to try their hand at the medieval and victorian fantasy story genre. It is also a place where these students can monetize their fantastical finished products they create.
Alternatively, Saturday Fantasy market is a chance for students to see local creative genre professionals at the top of their game who focus on medieval and Victorian fantasy. This high value story-centric environment is designed to provide motivation and inspiration for new and developing students, as well as to give students a chance to play in a specific make-believe world. As fantasy genre-focused students demonstrate mastery of their crafts, they can expect to be invited to participate in these otherwise exclusive Saturday afternoon events.
Once a week we hold an informal video conference call, usually on Sundays, made up of many of the diverse creative people in our community. Students are invited to participate, both as listeners and contributors.
We have introductions, invite questions, share what we're currently working on, discuss unique project needs, as well as share stories and talk about the various relevant principles that help us all succeed as artists. The recurring video chat window for these meet-ups remains the same, and the link is here.
COST OF ENROLLMENT
$25/week per student ($100 per month)
We also provide work-study and in-kind scholarship opportunities negotiated on a case-by-case basis.
HOW TO ENROLL
Submit an application. We will then contact you to schedule a tour of the campus, and to arrange the first meeting with your mentor.
Benji, as he prefers to be called, is an instrumental musician of many kinds, a music arranger, singer, film producer, video editor, set designer, actor, experiential artist, garden designer, horticulturalist, dancer, educational designer, Appalachian broom maker, wand crafter, wood worker, salt-water aquarist, school founder and story telling entrepreneur. He also has a hundred other subjects he is exploring at any given time.
317 S 200 W
CURRENT SKILL OFFERINGS
basics of American swing
basics of latin
basics of cello
basics of string bass
basics of organ
basics of accordion
basics of percussion
basics of woodwinds
basics of brass
basics of choral conducting
basics of music composition
Craftsmanship & Design
garden design, installation, and maintenance
basics of wood working
event design & planning
world building/story writing
basics of film distribution
PEDAGOGY: A PARTIAL BREAKDOWN
Where are the geniuses?
Have you ever wondered how it is that little kids can learn a language in a fraction of the time that it takes an adult in school?
Or asked yourself why it’s so easy for you to remember things that you love, but when it comes to “that” subject,” you can’t for the life of you keep track of things?
What if I told you that the power to learn insanely quick and deep was already built into each and every one of us, no matter our age?
What if genius was waiting beneath the surface of each person, if only we knew how to allow it to emerge?
A new way of learning
Here at the Thirdofeight Institute for Creativity, we have designed a system of learning that does just that. We have found a reliable and repeatable method to harness the existing capacity of students and channeling that power through their own innate desire.
Our system revolves around a few fundamental ideas.
We are creators
First, that each human being is a child of heavenly parents, and by definition has the potential to become creators like them.
The need to create is ingrained in us. This is confirmed in us when we experience the intense joy that inevitably flows from bringing something beautiful into existence. It is our inner being telling us what we are meant to do.
We tell stories
Second, each and every human being has the capacity to make stories. Story is the inherent lens through which we live our lives. By recounting your own history, you are by default a story teller.
And in story making is the untold secret to hack creativity.
Not all story tellers are born the same, but it is a skill that can be taught. Further, not all story making mediums are the same. One person may excel in a certain format, while another gravitates to a different style.
Stories are metaphors
By hearing, relating, and experiencing stories, we can learn vicariously how to make different choices in our personal lives. We can also teach others through the stories things we wish to convey.
By enhancing our own ability to make stories, we improve our ability to teach others, as well as the means to decipher new and alternative ways in which to live our own lives; by seeing the stories we tell as metaphors, we can see the world with new eyes; tis is the very definition of creativity.
How to proceed
So if we want to be creative, we need to 1. enhance our ability to see and relate stories, and 2. understand ourselves and the nature of our world as completely as we can.
Harness the fire within
One of the central tenants of our modern educational system is the rationalization of the use of force and coercion with students. Teachers assume that without their imposed will, students won’t learn. This is false.
Students have natural curiosity that, if harnessed, can be the most powerful driver of their learning. By inspiring students through showing them the possibility of what they might accomplish, we remove this hideous barrier to helping students engage in the learning process.
Desire and immediate need are the keys to motivation
Another byproduct of the current medieval educational system is how educators impose arbitrary subjects onto students at the time and place of the system's choosing, rather than that of the student's desires and the consequential results that come from the desire to know.
This is important point because why humans retain information has everything to do with how it comes into us. Kids are no different.
Further, as students engage in subjects that flow naturally from their personal well of desire, they quickly reach a point where they need to understand many other subjects like english, math, and science that they then soak up like sponges because of their organically initiated need-to-know.
Therefore the assumption is that if students can 1. be inspired by a topic and goal, 2. have the permission and encouragement to pursue that goal, 3. have access to mean and insight regarding the nature of the world in order in order to troubleshoot effectly when they come up against challenge, and 4. have free flowing access to the specific knowledge and processes of the subjects that motivate them, they can become insanely gifted specialists of whatever they set their minds to.
The key then, is how to facilitate this process.
Our stated goal is to help students reach their God-given potential as creators through teaching story making as expressed through the art forms of their choice.
To do this, we use student directed engagement, experiential exposure, and orientation to fundamental principles.
1. Student directed engagement
Kids are born curious and passionate. It is our job to harness that existing power, and to help remove obstacles that stand in their way through careful, non-obtrusive curriculum design. Rather than imposing arbitrary standards, our job is to customize the learning environment to their immediate and motivated needs. Ultimately, we are seeking to help them channel their innate motivation, and learning to teach themselves.
2. Experimental exposure
All new learners in any field need to see what is possible before they accurately and adequately know what it is they want to accomplish and become within that realm. Our job is to show students the spectrum of inspiring options that exist within a field that calls to them in order to further awaken their personal fire.
3. Orientation to fundamental principles
Once the topic of study is discovered that awakens the fire in a student, we guide them in the earliest stages of their goal. As always happens, the student necessarily comes up against difficulties. Not only do we provide expertise in the areas of study, but more importantly, we provide a means of helping them troubleshoot through their learning dilemmas. We teach a defined structure of fundamental principles that govern all creativity that provides a schema within which all the necessary answers to the questions they might come up against are found. Rather than simply answer questions, we teach principles, and the students solve their own problems. We are here to cultivate, to inspire, to demonstrate, to guide, and to encourage, and then to get out of their way.
STORY MAKING IS THE KEY
Story is the basis of creativity
Story is the archetypal way human beings relate to the world and to themselves.
There are three distinct ways story making might manifest within a student, and they can be grouped thusly:
On the broadest scale, there is both microcosmic (small scale) and macrocosmic (large scale). Microcosmic deals with the individual experience, while the macrocosmic relates to the experience of multiple characters.
Microcosmic story making can be broken down further into both internal and external, internal being the expression of a unique character's feelings through an experience, while external is the ways in which narrative manifests outside and immediately around a character in a story.
Internal, microcosmic storymaking incorporates performance based arts, such as dance, music, and theatre. These are forms of expression that rely largely on an immediate bodily expression seen through the movement of an individual for the benefit and enjoyment of an audience. Whether playing a fiddle, dancing a waltz, or performing in a theatre, these art forms are defined by us as intrapersonal.
The external, microcosmic category includes story making through physical objects, or arts that involves the creation or reorganization of elements outside the immediate body of the creator. Craftsmanship such as costume design, set decoration, cosplay, carpentry, gardening, soap making, candle making, sewing, set design, and installation art all fall into this category.
Usually this type of story making implies the creation of a physical product, object, or defined space. It is also always outside or beyond its creator, and often becomes entirely independent of the artist once it has been adequately possessed of the intent of it's author.
Macrocosmic, or big-picture story making is art forms that take on the shape of a grand story arc or narrative. This category of story making supposes that the role of story maker also takes on the job of world builder. It usually requires the management of many complex systems, events, plot, conflicts, and character changes over a period of time.
Literary authors, screenwriters, film producers, theater directors, and dance choreographers all fall within this kind of story making.
Why this is important
We break down the exploratory classes accordingly with these distinctions in order to expose students to the story making genres likely to interest them most. This allows them in theory to focus in on the specializations that will bear fruit fastest.
While most students gravitate to one particular type of story making, most students will eventually cross over into the other formats. As soon as students express this interest, they are given every opportunity to explore those means.
When we can successfully connect students to motivating subjects, their capacity and desire to soak up knowledge of a variety of subjects is enhanced. Rather than attempting to force feed knowledge, students suck it up like a sponge. By removing coercion from education and channeling student curiosity, students motivate themselves. When they get to choose, are taught fundamental truth, and are given the opportunity to actually apply what they know in context, they engage and take responsibility; students are therefore more prepared to adapt and act in the world as agents unto themselves, and more able to do good.