This was the second TA gathering and we moved it down the street to Touchstone’s Cafe. Only four others showed up, one singer-songwriter, two poets and a dance instructor. I put together a program for the evening with a warm-up, a discussion of multiple intelligences, a reflection and a final activity. It was quite a rich evening with lots of intelligent talk and philosophy.

I had a warm up planned from my daughter’s improv classes but decided to try one of my own, borrowed from my recent work with the preschoolers. I played Jelly in the Dish with the scarves, and got the four folks up and moving. I added various additions like trading scarves and intros, different movements, spreading the leadership around, etc. It was an excellent warm up.

I had assigned Multiple Intelligences to the group and provide a fresh list. We proceeded to talk about them, and we provided anecdotal instances from our work. The session was pretty deep.


  1. Musical-rhythmic and harmonic

This area has to do with sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, tones, and music. People with a high musical intelligence normally have good pitch and may even have absolute pitch, and are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music. They have sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody or timbre.

  1. Visual-spatial

This area deals with spatial judgment and the ability to visualize with the mind’s eye.

  1. Verbal-linguistic

People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates.

  1. Logical-mathematical

This area has to do with logic, abstractions, reasoning, numbers and critical thinking. This also has to do with having the capacity to understand the underlying principles of some kind of causal system.

  1. Bodily-kinesthetic

The core elements of the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence are control of one’s bodily motions and the capacity to handle objects skillfully, which also includes a sense of timing, a clear sense of the goal of a physical action, along with the ability to train responses, generally good at physical activities such as sports, dance, acting, and making things.

  1. Interpersonal

In theory, individuals who have high interpersonal intelligence are characterized by their sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments, motivations, and their ability to cooperate in order to work as part of a group. “Inter- and Intra- personal intelligence is often misunderstood with being extroverted or liking other people…” Those with high interpersonal intelligence communicate effectively and empathize easily with others, and may be either leaders or followers. They often enjoy discussion and debate.

  1. Intrapersonal

This area has to do with introspective and self-reflective capacities. This refers to having a deep understanding of the self; what one’s strengths or weaknesses are, what makes one unique, being able to predict one’s own reactions or emotions.

  1. Naturalistic

Not part of Gardner’s original seven, naturalistic intelligence was proposed in 1995. “I would probably add an eighth intelligence – the intelligence of the naturalist. It seems to me that the individual who is readily able to recognize flora and fauna, to make other consequential distinctions in the natural world, and to use this ability productively (in hunting, in farming, in biological science) is exercising an important intelligence and one that is not adequately encompassed in the current list.” This area has to do with nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings. This sort of ecological receptiveness is deeply rooted in a “sensitive, ethical, and holistic understanding” of the world and its complexities – including the role of humanity within the greater ecosphere.

  1. Existential

Gardner did not want to commit to a spiritual intelligence, but suggested that an “existential” intelligence may be a useful construct.  The hypothesis of an existential intelligence has been further explored by educational researchers.

My friends Doug and Bill made it in for the last one – Existential – and the conversation got very philosophical, just what I had hoped would come from these gatherings. Why do we do what we do as Teaching Artists? Bill mentioned a Divine Spirit, Matt mentioned Vedic thought, Cleveland mentioned being outside the moment and observing, Doug went on about the community. It was profound.

We did a reflection on the session, with what each of us came away with.

We finished up with the scarves, with each artist taking the lead after I established the routine. I was hoping that the “lead” would be passed silently, with a nod or some subliminal message, but there was too much going on, and Doug is not an artist that works well with others. He was having too much fun with his scarves; he may not have been to one of these multi-artist workshops before. Oh, well. He is my good friend.


I came away feeling that this was a particularly rich two hour session, one of college-level thought, professionally presented. It was a good model for a workshop. I wish that more folks had been present. We will continue to meet every two months. The poets Cleveland and Matt will be the session leaders for the next one.