Come Fridays, many people are thinking of a TGIF outing after work rather than a way to start the day. CreativeMornings helps get the energy going by gathering across-the-board creatives over coffee and offering an inspirational speaker to invigorate them. Begun in 2008 in New York City, the program—now an international phenomenon—occurs in 170 cities throughout the world, including Santa Fe and Albuquerque. With over 250,000 participants, it is built on a belief in the power of community in which local chapters celebrate a city’s creative talent and promote an open space to connect with like-minded people. Attendees arrive by 9 am for coffee and networking, putting aside their smartphones to make face-to-face connections. By 9:30, a speaker selected for passion and purpose provides a twenty-minute talk that loosely responds to a one-word global theme of the month. While the format may remain the same, the content varies tremendously based on the speaker’s background, interests, and perspective on the theme. Hosted by volunteers with local and global sponsorships, the events are free and invite everyone to celebrate the wide-ranging talent in their cities.
Santa Fe and Albuquerque tag team, providing bimonthly talks in each town. Curators at the New Mexico History Museum, Meredith Davidson and Daniel Kosharek, co-host the Santa Fe chapter. Commenting on the program, Kosharek says, “The creative community in Santa Fe is so vital and extensive that CreativeMornings seemed like a natural way to attract people to the museum to experience what others are doing in the community. This accomplishes two primary goals: one, to provide a venue for sharing ideas, networking, and enjoying a cup of coffee with your peers. Number two, it gets these folks into the museum, which is always foremost on our minds. We have learned a lot about what works and how it works best, so I only see this becoming better and better as time goes on.” Mingling and connecting, the audience in Santa Fe is a mix of young and seasoned professionals, as well as the museum’s constituents, including visitors to the city. Santa Fe spearhead Meredith Davidson added, “We think it is important to think of creativity in the most broad sense. Because of this, we’ve invited scientists, authors, artists, and engineers, among other professions. We think creativity is about how you approach your profession more than what artistic piece you are producing. Partnering with local creative economy businesses like the Santa Fe Opera, Creative Santa Fe, and the Santa Fe Art Institute, among others, is a natural and points out the many resources available to the community.”
The mission of CreativeMornings brings in some of the coolest, laid-back cats that all have the same passion and belief in giving a damn, regardless of where a host is from, what their race, religion, or beliefs are—they are instantly family.
Amy Slater, Director of Operations at Creative Startups, organizes the Albuquerque events. These occur at different venues in order to explore the city—from artist studios, co-working spaces, traditional theater spaces, to art galleries and bars. CreativeMornings’s website provides the framework to launch a program, and the global chapters help by sharing ideas, inspiration, templates, and moral support. According to Slater, “The mission of CreativeMornings brings in some of the coolest, laid-back cats that all have the same passion and belief in giving a damn, regardless of where a host is from, what their race, religion, or beliefs are—they are instantly family.”
Many of these short talks are memorable experiences. Rose Simpson, a Santa Clara Pueblo artist who, after spending time in Japan, returned to New Mexico inspired by what makes her, as a Native American artist, have a particular story to tell, wowed the crowd on the theme of “Risk.” The exhibition at the Museum on lowriders in New Mexico was a perfect backdrop for Simpson’s talk highlighting her El Camino, Maria, which she painted in the black-on-black style of traditional pottery and used in a most inspiring way in her passionate performance pieces dealing with identity.
Albuquerque’s Carlos Contreras, a slam poetry champion, was a favorite presenter, whose work addressed the theme of “Empathy” one morning at Tractor Brewery. National Hispanic Cultural Center’s curator, Tey Marianna Nunn, spoke on the theme of “Language,” having the audience write an exhibition label for an artwork and experience first hand how words used to describe Hispanic and Latino artists can affect the perception one has about the individuals and their work. Last July, Matie Fricker, owner of Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center, talked on the topic of “Love” and had the audience crying with laughter and playing Bingo on a themed card they created during the talk.
Crave an open space to connect with like-minded people? Want to learn about and celebrate this city’s creative talent? On Friday, June 16, at 9 am at the New Mexico History Museum, Ray Rivera, Editor of The Santa Fe New Mexican, will address the theme “Survival.” In presenting his talk “The Attack on Real News,” Rivera will look at both the deleterious impact on and opportunities for news organizations amid the current efforts by the Trump administration and hyper-partisan outlets to delegitimize real news as “fake.” Additional 2017 program themes include “Equality” in July (Albuquerque), “Genius” in August (Santa Fe), “Compassion” in September (Albuquerque), “Pioneer” in October (Santa Fe), “Death” in November (Albuquerque), and “Context” in December (Santa Fe).
Visit the website creativemornings.com and select a city to learn who is speaking and register for e-blasts on upcoming gatherings. Albuquerque has also begun informal evening “off-month” get-togethers to keep the momentum going. Santa Fe hopes to do the same, with a goal of bridging people who might not interact in their daily lives and building connections to foster better projects and new ideas for New Mexicans, as well as providing young professionals with creative career models.
Another feature of the website is an archive of talks from the global cities’ chapters posted as podcasts, offering insights into major global centers as well as little-known worlds. Under the headings of “Fun Stuff” and “Share Your Method: Teach us Something,” you can learn from pros topics like how to select and cut an avocado, the magic of branding in two minutes, how to pack for a world trip, how to storyboard, and how to vector custom lettering.
If you need a rationale to be excused from work to attend the 9-10 am events, there’s a place on the website with convincing arguments for your boss on why participation could be beneficial. Regardless of your rationale, these points affirm what you stand to gain by including CreativeMornings in your monthly schedule: gain insights and best practices that will be relevant to your work, make valuable connections, use what you learn to create shareable online content on behalf of your company, and bring back lessons and best practices to share with your team.
With over 250,000 participants in the global CreativeMornings movement, there is a rich and inspirational content presented. The program’s Manifesto proclaims that by bringing together people driven by passion and purpose, they are “confident that they will inspire one another and inspire change in neighborhoods and cities around the world.” In these troubling times, why not engage in your town and share in the great ideas and work occurring there and around the world?