Date Awarded

Spring 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Leslie W. Grant

Committee Member

James H. Stronge

Committee Member

Jennifer H. Robins


Artistic talent is critical to offering creative contributions to society’s challenges and opportunities (in balance with technical, business, and other domains). Emphasis on art experiences and skills is missing in school programs, due to financial and accountability constraints, and encouraging prioritization on “core” subjects. Rural environments present particular challenges: while they are identified as fertile ground for developing a creative class, low population density makes it difficult to provide substantial support for in-depth exploratory, experiential creative endeavors. A crucial element of maintaining personal commitment to one’s talent area is support. While support from the family is essential, the value a community (which includes the school) places on any talent domain largely impacts the individual developmental trajectory for that talent—especially in teenagers. This study was conducted to explore the perceptions of individual talent among artistically gifted adolescents in rural communities in the U.S., and concluded that immediate and extended families provided adequate levels of support for the adolescents to remain committed to their talent and that a critical factor associated with school and community support is missing: the time necessary to devote to development of that talent. The study offers the opportunity to open a dialogue related to research on the marginalization of visual thinkers (of which the artistically gifted are a sub-group); to apply the findings to the current climate in education; and to establish collaborative efforts to promote artistic talent development in answer to the demand for art and design thinking, innovation, and creativity on a global scale.




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