Many of you I know. For those that I don’t, my name is Kim Zanti. I worked alongside James at the Centers for Research on Creativity for the past five and a half years. In that time, I never saw him as my ‘boss,’ but as a business partner with whom I had an open exchange, someone who came reluctantly to the idea of managing a business, but who had great fun doing the work. And through that work, he became a mentor and a friend. In our work, he welcomed everyone without judgment or care about credentials. He listened and learned. And I learned so much from the way he listened, the way that he asked questions.
Such as, How would life be different if…?
It was the beginning of a question that James posed to thousands of students throughout his career. Typically, that question was followed by a set of novel circumstances, such as ‘How would life be different if all the roads and streets were rivers and streams? Or, how would life be different if all animals spoke Spanish and English?
I never contemplated how life would be different if James Catterall hadn’t been in my world, in our world. How many people's lives did he change just by listening, learning, thinking, and writing?
I remember walking with him in Bethesda, MD with our new research associate Gabby Arenge. We were attending the US Department of Education conference and walking to lunch at a nearby pub. You would have thought he was a rock star. Young people, young scholars surrounded him, shook his hand, and said with more than a little reverence, "Dr. Catterall...so good to meet you...your work is such an inspiration to me.” Or, “Your work made the best case for the arts in education, it’s an honor to meet you." Gabby and I joked that we felt like the secret service walking with him, as he handled each acknowledgement with grace.
I remember him in Lafayette, Louisiana where we attended a summer teacher institute at LSU. Sherry Kerr, our senior research associate met James, Rebecca, and I at the airport and took us immediately to the public house of a recreated Acadian village. Rain fell on the roof in a steady beat as the local traditional music group played stringed instruments and sang in a circle. Men, women, and children in faded jeans and ball caps, work boots, and tennis shoes – they welcomed the stranger with the John Lennon spectacles, dark blue sport jacket and brown clogs. Someone handed James a guitar and he joined in with ease.
I remember my friend and neighbor Clare, who cajoled him one year to join us at the Community House Halloween Party. He said, ‘But I don’t have a thing to wear!’ So she dug through her costume closet and dressed him in a Friar Tuck outfit, complete with brown robe and silken cord around his waist. Can you picture that? James as Friar Tuck! I have one word to describe him: ADORABLE!
I think now of the outpouring of love for this generous man who made time and space for so many people. Yet, the loves of his life were his family. His wife Rebecca, his children Lisa, Hannah, and Grady, his grandchildren Mikal, Addison, Phoenix, and Sage. He loved you all deeply and enduringly. Our office is full of your books, pictures, art, your drawings. Whatever he loved about people’s creativity, he cherished yours the most. You were his world.
Work was his playground.
He taught scholars the fundamentals and nuances of data, he designed rigorous research to assess arts education and creativity programs, he guided state, county, and federal agencies toward standards and policies that accommodated different ways of teaching, different ways of knowing. He spread his word globally. He inspired.
James was more open and non-judgmental then anyone I’ve ever met. He sought bigger ways of imagining what was possible in education, by asking questions that went to the core of behavior and attitudes and dispositions. He was an academic, yes, and wielded the tools and power that came with his esteemed position, but when he wrote, he wrote as a man who genuinely wanted more humanity, more joy, more creativity to infuse learning. He dedicated his life to studying what was possible, not just passable.
He reveled in working with those who had the vision and fortitude to challenge the status quo. The dreamers and professionals, who imagine a different and richer way of cultivating young people. Who asked: How would the world be different if we guided children to thrive as whole human beings instead of sitting in chairs, empty vessels to be filled with knowledge, who would simply know the ‘correct’ answer? The list of his colleagues that he so enjoyed working with is long and many of you are here today.
It is fitting to have James’ memorial here at Theatricum, because he built his career on his belief and on the evidence – he was a scientist after all and data warmed his heart - that an arts rich and creative life had long-lasting, deep, and measureable impacts on developing human beings. I feel especially tender with this thought, because this theatre is where I met James.
I served as Theatricum’s Development Director and recruited him to our Advisory Board. He loved the Rep Shows and especially the improv shows, where he gleefully watched actors engage in what he saw as one of the highest forms of creative problem solving – on the fly, in the moment, without a net.
Theatricum is not only an important part of the fabric and history of American theatre, it is an essential laboratory for growing confident, creative, collaborative, empathetic human beings who embody the practices of ensemble performance and carry these lessons throughout their lives. And James saw that.
His own daughter and son studied in the summer camp programs and that connection, perhaps more than anything, is why we are here, in this glorious theatre, today.
James loved Topanga, he loved children and language and word play. He often shared one of his favorite memories with me of his daughter Lisa’s experience at the ripe old age of 6, when her crafty friend Tia ensnared her in a nefarious plan that went awry. James sat Lisa down and calmly asked her what happened. In defending her position, Lisa said, “Tia doesn’t give me enough choosements.”
That tickled him every time he told the story and it became somewhat of a meme between us. Faced with a situation presenting limited options, one of us would say, ‘well, they’re not giving us enough choosements.”
James Catterall, under these oaks, in this canyon that you adored, with your family and friends bearing witness, I thank you for the simplest and most treasured of gifts that one could hope for in life - your intelligent humanity, your friendship, your kindness.
How are our lives different because you were a part of them? You gave us more choosements in our quest for a more compassionate, creative, and meaningful world. Rest in peace, dear man, rest in peace, dear friend.
Where Do You Hear the Voice? Diane Luby Lane
Where do you hear the Voice? So Beautiful it pulls you Out of yourself and Into everything else So you can’t tell where you end and somebody else begins You ain’t this and you ain’t that You’re All of it Where do you go to feel Good? Where are you Grand? Where are you Glorious? What Place gives you Joy, Soul, Spirit, Juice, Goods, Now, Zip, Zap, Fizz,Fly, Kiss, Pop, Woe, Wow, Life, Liven, Love, Pizzaz, Yeah, All right, Ah-ha, Hallelujah! Where can you Spread-out, Lay-down, Lay-low, Open-up, Drip-drop, Expand, Extract-- Meaning, Goodness, Beauty, Worlds, Whys, How-comes, Why-nots? Where is your Joy? What makes you Happy? Fill yourself Up in that place that fills you ’cause you’ve left paradise Now you’re in the garden with the traps and the rats and the cats But don’t be afraid! Spread your arms out-- Take a Risk! Let the Petals of your flower go flat for the Whole Wide World to see! Lay it Down! Give it Up! Get it Out! You came here with love, so Love! Open up your Arms to the lepers, and the outcasts, and the tax collectors -- Open up! That’s right! It’s okay to feel lonely and forgotten, small, angry, meaningless, confused, forsaken-- Reach your fingers out! So far-- Further! Past the pain-- Till you’ve pulled yourself apart and all that’s left of you is One Heart Beating with the Universe-- You hear it? Oh yeah Where you hear it? Cousteau heard it in the Ocean Goodall hears it with the Chimps James Catterall in ART Where do you hear it? Glorious, glorious Lovelies— Re-member Who you are!
James S. Catterall (February 20, 1948 – August 23, 2017) Obituary James S. Catterall, Professor Emeritus and past Chair of the Faculty at the UCLA Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, Affiliate Faculty member at the UCLA Center for Culture, Brain, and Development, and Co-Founder of the Centers for Research on Creativity, has died. The cause of death was a massive stroke, according to his family. He was 69.
In a career spanning four decades, Dr. Catterall published more than 120 journal articles, chapters, parts of books, and reports on children’s development in the context of learning in the arts. Several key contributions to the field remain widely influential.
In the compendium Champions of Change, The Impact of the Arts on Learning published by the Arts Education Partnership and The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (1999), his evidence-based research eloquently documented the powerful effects that learning in dance, drama, music, and visual arts has on the development of the whole child.
Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development, published by the National Endowment for the Arts and The Arts Education Partnership in 2002, further documented the academic and social effects of learning in the arts. This collection of research gave curriculum designers and classroom teachers a definitive resource for incorporating the arts across subject matter into teaching practice. The evidence shows that learning and cognition is positively affected when the developing child is offered a broader and richer learning experience through an art form and its related practices and strategies. In his introductory essay to the volume, Dr. Catterall wrote, “If a musical note can propel and reorient millions of neurons, the arts experiences described in this Compendium clearly impact the cognitive structures of the children and students involved. To begin, learning in the arts alone should be seen as evidence of cognitive restructuring - the increased expertise of a watercolorist or dancer manifests in neural reorganization. In turn, if altered neuro-function is a consequence of learning in the arts, it is reasonable to think that such neural-conditioning could enhance performance in related skills, either through improved related cognitive functioning or through positive affective developments such as achievement motivation. Thus we establish a neuro-function argument supporting learning through the arts-the cultivation of capabilities and understandings that occur as ‘byproducts’ or ‘co-developments’ of the changes in cognitive and affective structures brought about by experiences in the arts. More directly, the argument suggests that experiences in the arts create capabilities or motivations that show up in non-arts capabilities.”
His keynote speeches at education conferences internationally were particularly well received in countries with progressive education systems such as Finland, Estonia, and Norway. At home in Topanga, California, he was known for his round spectacles, khaki vest, and slip on brown clogs. On the second level of the town shopping center, he maintained an office for two decades filled with art, musical instruments, and his vintage lunch box collection. The office now serves as the Los Angeles headquarters for the Centers for Research on Creativity.
He was well versed in asking questions that no one else was asking when collecting and analyzing data. He did this most notably in 2009 with the publication of Doing Well and Doing Good by Doing Art. In it, he and Professors Susan Dumais (LSU) and Gillian Hampden-Thompson (York University, U.K), reported their findings from the analysis of the data from a 12-year longitudinal study, which followed more than 12,000 youth from 18 – 26 years old. According to the Arts Education Partnership, “This study provides important empirical evidence of the significant role that the arts play in preparing young people for success, both in academia and in life. Its implications for education of underserved and English Language Learners (ELL) are particularly significant, given the compelling need to improve the educational opportunities available to urban inner-city and ELL students.” Dr. Catterall retired from UCLA in 2012 to pursue his interests in studying ‘everyday’ creativity, using a simple definition based on two criteria: ‘is it new or novel to the person who had the idea? And, is it useful?’ In his speeches, radio, and television appearances he was often heard saying that means, motive, and opportunity were key ingredients to spark and sustain a student’s creativity and love of learning, instead of subjecting them to a barrage of standard tests that teachers and students simply endure.
He developed the Next Generation Creativity Survey to measure the qualities that comprise creativity, including creative self-efficacy, collaboration, empathy, and critical thinking. The survey has been administered to nearly 4,000 students enrolled in arts, science, leadership, and makers programs throughout the United States. The Centers for Research on Creativity plans to combine the data from the individual programs into one database, further analyzing it to contribute to the field of creativity research.
In 2015, he published his last book, The Creativity Playbook: A Guide to our Creativity Debates. The volume is a concise discussion of the questions surrounding today’s creativity debates, set in a conversational, playful tone, giving the reader a glimpse inside the man who worked to expand, and at the same time, make more specific, our discourse around the multi-faceted topic of creativity.
Dr. Catterall, known for his genial personality, made life-long friends as he nurtured several generations of young scholars, policy makers, and arts and science organization leaders. Dr. Sherry Kerr, a former graduate student of Dr. Catterall’s, traveled frequently to China with him over the past two years, where they offered professional development to classroom teachers on arts integration, neuroscience, and human development. She said of her colleague, “The genius of James is that he saw things that no one else saw. He loved conversations about the theory and practice of the arts and arts integration, and then could sit in fascination looking at a child’s painting and make the connection between the child’s act of creating and the intellectual case, backed by data, for the importance of the arts in student learning. ”
Nina Ozlu Tunceli, Chief Counsel of Government and Public Affairs at Americans for the Arts as well as the Executive Director of the Americans for the Arts Action Fund said of Dr. Catterall upon his passing, “I am reminded of the enormous impact that he has had on increasing arts education school budgets and policies across every state and city in the country with his longitudinal research on creativity and arts education on children. As a lobbyist of 25 years, I have delivered Dr. Catterall’s research results to every Member of Congress to make the case for additional arts education resources in schools, through the U.S. Department of Education, and in nonprofit arts organizations, through the National Endowment for the Arts. It ultimately led then-U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in 2012, to state in a speech, ‘… The arts opportunity gap is widest for children in high-poverty schools. This is absolutely an equity issue and a civil rights issue.’”
At the time of his death, Dr. Catterall served as the principal investigator or external evaluator on arts education and arts integration studies being conducted in Los Angeles, Oakland, San Diego, and Santa Ana, California and in Cincinnati, Ohio and Edinburgh, Scotland. James Catterall began his career as a high school math teacher and tennis coach at Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Minnesota. He pursued his doctoral studies in education at Stanford and was deeply inspired by education American developmental psychologist and Harvard professor Howard Gardner's 1980 book Artful Scribbles: The Significance of Childrens' Drawings. Professor Catterall held degrees in economics, with honors, from Princeton University, in public policy analysis from the University of Minnesota, and a Ph.D. in Education from Stanford University. He was an accomplished cellist and bassist. He lived with great joy for more than 30 years surrounded by the Santa Monica Mountains in Topanga, California, where he was a founding member of the Topanga Symphony Orchestra. Until the time of his death, he continued playing cello with the symphony and bass in his rock band Tyger Dynasty that formed in his early days at Princeton. James Stanley Catterall was born in Summit, New Jersey. His parents, Shirley and William Catterall are deceased. He is survived by his older brother William Edward, wife of 34 years, Rebecca Epps Catterall, their two children Hannah Beth, 33 and Grady James, 30, and newborn grandchild Sage Elizabeth Bloomfield and by his first wife of nine years Judith Elizabeth Catterall, their child Lisa Grush, 44, and grandchildren Mikal Jacob Pendleton, 24, Addison James Catterall-Pendleton, 13, and Phoenix Catterall-Pendleton, 1.
The memorial service will be held at Will Geer’s Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga, California on Saturday, September 16 at 10:00am, followed by a gathering in the theatre’s garden. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations in his honor be made to Inner-City Arts in Los Angeles (http://www.inner-cityarts.org).