Date of Conferral
When high school art teachers do not understand how their students experience creativity, studio art programs are less effective in fostering student learning than they would otherwise be. Nevertheless, extant research does not reveal a consistent or comprehensive understanding of how adolescents experience creativity in art education. Drawing on Csikszentmihalyi's theory of creativity and flow, this study explored students' perceptions of creativity and its relationship to flow, or the state of consciousness associated with optimal pleasure. This phenomenological study investigated students' perceptions of creativity and flow by interviewing nine high school advanced placement students in a public high school in southwest Florida. Data were drawn from three structured interviews with each subject and a field journal kept by the researcher. The Think Aloud technique used for the second interview provided rich descriptions while participants were in the midst of doing art. Field journal entries were organized according to Bailey's guide to field note classification. Moustakas's interpretation and modifications of the Van Kaam method of analysis provided a systematic approach to transcript reduction. The results of the investigation revealed four themes in the ways students perceive their own creativity, namely, influences, mindset, self-efficacy, and emotions. As they reflected on their perceptions of creativity and flow, students gained a greater awareness of their experience while creating art. Among the study's implications for social change, as art educators elicit these understandings, they foster creativity and transform students' lives in school and potentially, the wider society.