Case Studies: Why VAR is Needed

"Creativity needs to be nurtured." Lee, age 30 Read Lee's StoryRead Susan's Story

Lee’s Journey to Filmmaker and CEO

Lee is a filmmaker who reports that he struggled his whole life with traditional schooling.  To make matters worse, his creativity was not identified at a young age, despite having a family who was well involved in the artistic world.  It has taken Lee many years to feel that he is a “legitimate” filmmaker and many more to take ownership of his role as CEO of his own business.  Here are the highlights of our interview with Lee.

  • Lee did not realize that filmmaking and screenwriting were career options until college.  He did not have access to a     creative writing class until high school.
  • Lee wishes that he had a more nurturing and supportive environment that would have taught him the value of failing       early and often at a much younger age.
  • Lee was often made fun of at school for his creative ideas and his high level of emotional sensitivity.
  • He was diagnosed with  many mental health challenges and did not realize until much later that his anxiety was a result of a mismatch between his  personality and the type of school he was enrolled in.
  • He wishes he was given more opportunities to explore at a much younger age.


If Lee could design a program for visual artists, he would prioritize these 3 things:


  1. Understanding the feedback of business people who, at first glance, may not understand the creative process
  2. Build relationships first
  3. Become a student of the world and learn about different cultures

Susan’s Transition to Graduate School

Susan is a bright and talented young woman in her mid-twenties.  Having attended a traditional 4 year college in the US as an international student, she found that her professors and mentors in academia could not prepare her for a job search.  Although she and her friends dream about starting their own businesses, it has been difficult for Susan to find the support that she needs.  As a result, Susan has accepted admission to an arts management program in France.  If there had been another alternative, Susan may have taken a more entrepreneurial path.

Susan reported that the biggest impediment for her creative friends in getting a job after college is the lack of support and skills in networking, business development, and marketing the self.    Susan believe that all visual artists would benefit from basic psychology classes to teach them how to work with actual clients and build the relationships necessary to launch a successful business.


If Susan could design a program for visual artists, she would prioritize these 3 things:

  1. Visual artists should study the basic neuroscience of creativity and relationship skills in order to understand how human process information.
  2. A stronger international focus, especially with collaboration with Asian and South East Asian countries
  3. Begin to truly explore the combination of visual art and technology so more families would view an artistic career as a viable career option
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