Q4 of 2015 was a filled with new experiences for me. Through travels and curiosity, I found myself in, in the middle of three very different experiences, being inspired like never before. The one thing these opportunities had in common was they were all creative reuses and re--imaginings of places and events -- all of which were re-created to help people connect to themselves and one another.
LATE NITE ART, Oakland, CA
LATE NITE ART™ is a social enterprise that brings people together to unleash creativity. These events, workshops and trainings use collaborative art-making, funky music, incredible local food and provocative conversations to ignite imaginations, deepen connection to one another, learn about ourselves, and foster innovation. For a modest fee you can attend one of these great events and experience the transformation yourself. You do not need artistic abilities, a partner or an issue to address; all you need is an open mind and a willingness to have fun.
Photo Credit: Eli Zaturanski (www.elizphtotgraphy.com)
LATE NITE ART feels like a celebration the moment you arrive, and the central focus is connection - to your creative side and to the other guests. This event is creative, conversational, delicious and provocative -- everything one could want from a night on the town.
This unique experience is now being offered in the workplace. And this is what’s really exciting. Managers and executives are going on retreat and leaving the status quo behind in favor of connecting to the primal human experience of song, movement, creation, and connection. Groups now have the opportunity to build relationships with one another and become a team in a fun and celebratory way. Disparate stakeholders conversing in a safe space and building understanding and empathy for their counterparts can only improve morale and collaboration.
LATE NITE ART recreates what an event or meeting can be. It reimagines how music, art and conversation can be woven together. LATE NITE ART revitalizes the building blocks of community and leverages them to foster connection and creativity.
The Z Lot, Detroit, MI
In October, I got to experience the Detroit Renaissance. The city is bursting with creative energy, and it is best exemplified in a downtown-parking garage, the Z Lot. The “Z” as it is known, is a 3-story, 535.00 sq ft. parking garage, art museum and event space. In 2014 Detroit-born businessman extraordinaire, Dan Gilbert, commissioned 27 of the world’s best graffiti artists to paint on every inch of wall, inside and outside or the large parking garage. The space bursts with creativity, as the styles of the 27 artists blend, clash and compliment one another to create a place for people to connect, not just park.
The Z Lot has become a destination for art lover all over the world, while functioning as a parking garage. The Z Lot is a creative reuse of the mundane parking garage we are all too familiar with. By reimagining what a parking lot can be, Dan Gilbert and the City of Detroit recreated a space for people to connect to themselves and one another. The Z Lot redefines what a parking garage can be.
Orchestrating Excellence, Portland, OR
As I approached my seat for at a recent conference I noticed two things that took me by surprise: an egg shaker and neon sound tubes. I had no clue what would come next; all I knew was that this meeting was going to be different.
After the necessary introductions, the meeting presenter had all 400 attendees pick up the noise making devices and through a few simple prompts, led the crowd of academics in creating a song. It was fun, creative, but most important, it connected all participants in creating something that none of us could have created alone.
After we wowed ourselves, the presenter, aptly named Gary Muszynski, talked about his work doing this the world over in the corporate setting. His organization, Orchestrating Excellence, designs custom training programs that leverage the power of music and experiential learning to build trust, communication, collaboration and connection. Through this process, groups and organizations are able to grow, innovate and develop their people power. Orchestrating Excellence has reimaged the role of music in meetings. They has reused some basic creativity tenants and applied them in the all too often stodgy corporate setting. They have recreated how meetings can be used to more deeply connect colleagues.
Being exposed to these three creative reuses helped me connect to my creative side. These three experiences were inspiring, and while they all took place in different corners of the US, they all had one major thing in common: the reuse and re-imagining of what a mundane place, space and event can be. Not only were they personally powerful, their application to the professional realm is equally powerful. As international consultant Adam Kahane states in his book, Solving Tough Problems:
“The world is too complex and interdependent and rapidly changing for us to be able to reason through everything that is going on. We can no longer rely only on making sense of the whole of what is going on: we also have to sense it. This requires us to access a deeper, non-rational, more ancient kind of knowing.”
Through these types of repurposing and creative reuses, participants and attendees were able to get in touch with that deeper, non-rational and more ancient source of human brilliance we all possess. How are you tapping into yours?