“[We need} the strength of a creative human community grounded in a genuine sense of a connectedness and possibility rather than one based on fear and dogma.” - Peter Senge, Solving Tough Problems, Foreword
We need more connection. Not bandwidth, not social media platforms. More connection in the community sense of the word. My favorite artist, Brother Ali, sums it up when he laments that in today’s world, there is, “no group singing and dancing, nobody holds hands.” Through his words, he describes one of the reasons why our nation and world are so divided and myopic. These traditions and communal expressions are what make tribes successful tribes; co-creation, shared experiences, human connection.
Luckily, I found where the seeds of communal connection can go to get watered. I found it a few Saturdays ago at LATE NITE ART.
LATE NITE ART is deep interactive learning experience disguised as a party. This event is creative, conversational, delicious and provocative. Through lightly facilitated conversations, ever shifting seating assignments, irreverent activities, over delicious food, under the din of great tunes, I got to connect and express myself in a safe and creative space with fifty strangers. We held hands, sang together, talked about our passions, danced around and told our inner critics to shut up for a few hours.
LATE NITE ART has a much-needed community quality. LATE NITE ART is not about being artistic, solving a problem, or finding your inner child. It is about having good, expressive, provocative fun with people, and letting breakthroughs arise organically through the creative process.
The founder of LATE NITE ART, Adam Rosendahl, has been running these events since 2013, and began customizing events like LATE NITE ART for the business setting since 2014. And this is where I get really excited. Recently senior members of Old Navy’s HR department hired LATE NITE ART to run a retreat. Participants had this to say:
“Attending LATE NITE ART opened minds and relationships through honest and creative exploration.” - Jacob Myers, Senior Manager, Old Navy
“As someone who hosts regular large team meetings, I can say with sincerity that I rarely find an event that does such an effective job building teams, memories and laughter on such a large scale.” - Leslie Anderson, Head of Field HR, Gap Inc. / Old Navy
Imagine managers and executives going on a retreat and actually retreating from the status quo; colleagues actually building meaningful relationships with one another and becoming a high functioning team; disparate stakeholders conversing in a safe space and building understanding for their counterparts.
LATE NITE ART is one of a handful of organizations that is helping organizations accomplish the above, which research proves has a direct correlation to the bottom line. The Art Studio NY is a New York based organization that does similar work to LATE NITE ART. The Art Connection is another based out of Colorado. First Western Bank contracted them The Art Connection, and their leadership team had this to say:
“The Art Connection created an art experience that truly reflected our company’s personality. People loved the event and the art project. It was a great opportunity for our associates to express their opinions about what First Western means to them.” - Rebecca M. – Marketing Director, First Western Bank
Connecting to one another through our creativity creates the environment in which we can come together and solve our shared problems. As international super-star 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.”
These creative events package all the best expressions of our humanity, music, art, food and human conversation. They are helping foster a space for people to connect, solve and build together. We need more events and experiences like this. Our tribes need more of this. Our organizations need more of this. Our communities need more of this.
As Kahane states, we are not going to solve the problems we have by using the same thinking that created the problems. Only by getting in touch with a deeper, more connected source of human brilliance will we get ourselves out of the mess we are in.