Sahara Clemons is a multimedia artist, designer, and activist born in Washington D.C and based in Charlottesville, Virginia. Playing with both the traditional and unconventional, Clemons creates paintings on wood and fabric, wearable art and fashion design. Her work confronts interpersonal and intersectional concepts and provides commentary on the historic political, and social trauma of people of color and its effect on shaping identity. You can learn more about Sahara on her website and can follow her on Instagram: @sgcoriginals

January’s Theme is Promise

A promise is doing something “because I said I would.” Promises can come in all shades, depths, and forms: appointments, acts of kindness, creating and quitting habits, agreements, and resolutions. Thanks to life’s unpredictability, we make and break them all the time.

But what is the value and impact of being individuals of our word?

In the Albanian culture, the word “Besa” means a code of honor and faithfulness. It exceeds the meaning of merely keeping a promise, thus becoming mythologized in its divinity as a solemn oath.

Promises that are made and kept are exchanges of power

We invite you to make and keep one promise to yourself and one promise to others this year. When applied towards positive impact, even the smallest fulfilled promises can create meaningful ripples of change.

Our Tirana chapter chose this month’s exploration of Promise and the talented Jolin Matraku illustrated the theme.

Yolonda Coles Jones is a Healing and Empowerment-Centered Coach, Home-Based Education Consultant and Creative currently residing in Albemarle County, VA. She is married to her friend and partner, Will Jones, III, and a mama/parental to 5 kiddos. Her most prominent professional work in this season is utilizing her 12 years of experience as a working homeschool mom to walk you step-by-step through customizing a mindful education plan that brings your personal, professional and relational goals together with your desire for your child(ren)‘s academic success in light of COVID-19.

You can learn more about Yolonda on her website and can follow her on Instagram: @yolonda_j

30 Second Pitches

Interested in pitching your side project, a charity you’re involved with, a job alert, or your work for hire at our next CreativeMornings event?

We are inviting community members to participate in our next CreativeMornings event to pitch themselves, a project or an idea. And we’re giving you only 30 seconds to do it in front of our virtual audience! We’ll select four people to share their pitches after the sponsor recognition portion of the event. 

If you’re interested, fill out this short survey by this Wednesday, October 7th by 7pm.  We’ll reach out to you the next day to let you know if you’ve been selected for this round!

Need some ideas of how long a 30 second pitch is? Here’s a video from the NYC chapter. 

Ebony Walden is an urban  planner, consultant and facilitator with over a decade of experience working  to transform communities. Ebony is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Ebony Walden  Consulting (EWC), an urban strategy firm based in  Richmond, Virginia. At EWC, she works with a broad range of organizations to  design and facilitate meetings, training and community engagement  processes that explore race, equity and the creation of more just and inclusive  communities. Ebony is also an adjunct professor at Virginia Commonwealth  University where she teaches Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the City. She  holds a Bachelors in Business Administration from Georgetown University and a  Masters in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Virginia. 

Prior to founding  Ebony Walden Consulting, Ebony led Virginia LISC’s Building Sustainable  Communities (BSC) initiative focused on catalyzing community engagement to  revitalize vulnerable neighborhoods throughout Richmond and Petersburg. Ebony  has also worked as a Senior Planner for the City of Charlottesville Department of Neighborhood Development Services and Coordinator of the RVA Rapid Transit initiative, a citizen led initiative to improve public transportation in Richmond, VA.

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October’s Theme is Transit.How can we make space for new ideas and creative energy while staying in place?While cars, trains, boats, planes, and our many modes of transportation may take us where we need to go — taking note of our inner worlds and soaking in the details around us can often be the best vehicles of renewal.Your search might lead you to long strolls in nature, cooking to your favorite tunes, gazing up at the sky, or getting lost in an immersive process. Finding your calm and filling your cup first will help you become a fuller version of yourself — not only for you, but also for those who might need you.Make a list of activities you can turn to when you need to get from point A to B. Leave it somewhere you can easily access and turn to it when things get tough.Our Cleveland chapter chose this month’s exploration of Transit and Aleea Rae illustrated the theme.

A band of colors, expanding definitions, a broad array of identities — we all live within multiple spectrums, colliding and intersecting with one another. Like the diversity in our foods, styles of music, and the skills we exercise, our needs are
distinct with no one size fits all solution. Understanding and championing other realities normalizes saying: What I experience, feel, and notice may not be what
you know to be true. “Design for the spectrum and not the mean,” said Michael Kaufmann in his CreativeMornings talk.

“How do we move beyond courteous hospitality to courageous inclusivity?” As individuals committed to artfully living, we can paint refreshing possibilities that are not just for ourselves but also for others. Assemble your tools: Listen, look within, embrace the weird, and take the prism and flip it on its head — you’ll likely find a breathtaking blend of opportunities to make a difference. 

Our Las Vegas chapter chose this month’s exploration of Spectrum and Iandry Randriamandroso illustrated the theme.

MEET OUR SPEAKER

Hannah Cattarin (she/they) is the Assistant Curator at The Fralin Museum of Art at the University of  Virginia and holds a Master’s Degree in Art History and Theory from the  University of Essex in Colchester, England. Their curatorial interests  include contemporary art and the enhanced visibility of BIPOC LGBTQIA2S+ and  femme artists. Before joining the curatorial department at The Fralin they  served as the curatorial assistant at the University at Buffalo Art  Galleries. You can follow them on Instagram @hannahcattarin

August’s Theme is Stress

Stress, in its most basic form, is a response.

The feeling of stress can often manifest as a palpable tension flowing through your body. Stress can creep into the corners of your thoughts and decisions — eager to cloud your clarity and take power away from you.

As a popular saying goes, “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom,” What can you do when stress manifests itself in your body, mind, and spirit?

Create your own mantras, get fresh air, meditate, write, play music, sleep, or stay still. Push away from the habits that add stress to your life. Get more familiar with the feeling of calm, so that when stress arises, you can gently guide yourself toward it. As Shannon Lee teaches us in her CreativeMornings talk, it is possible to “create and restructure life,” for yourself, based on how you’d like to live.

In the space between the stimulus and response, take some of the spotlight away from stress by calling in your breath — and ask it to walk out the door.

Our Warsaw chapter chose this month’s exploration of Stress and Shanee Benjamin illustrated the theme

David Joo is a papermaker and origami artist based in Charlottesville, VA. Since graduating at UVA with a degree in chemistry and music, he has focused on an artistic practice pursuing new expressions in folded paper. Most recently, he is interested in the expansive role that the material of paper plays in culture and has just completed the one-year Incubator Residency at the McGuffey Art Center. For more, visit his website and follow him on Instagram @davidajoo.

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“An underdog questions and expands what’s considered possible.”

Our Edinburgh chapter chose this month’s exploration of Insecure, Astrid Jaekel illustrated the theme, and Mailchimp is presenting the theme globally.

An underdog questions and expands what’s considered possible. When others expect them to lose, underdogs must lean on their self-trust and hard won experiences to envision and fiercely assert new realities. They do not dwell on what’s expected of them, but instead focus on what’s not expected of them.

In a letter to his nephew, James Baldwin writes, “You were not expected to aspire to excellence. You were expected to make peace with mediocrity […] Take no one’s word for anything, including mine, but trust your experience. Know whence you came. If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go.”

Whether you’re an underdog yourself or you know someone who is, you can help raise the bar. Recognize that every day is an opportunity to participate in life-affirming problem solving and to, and that every moment is an opportunity to engage creatively with your sense of what is possible. 

Call in and deploy your experience, your intuition, and your voice. The arena of change is calling.

Our Edinburgh chapter chose this month’s exploration of Insecure, Astrid Jaekel illustrated the theme, and Mailchimp is presenting the theme globally.

March’s Theme is Identity. What makes you, you?

Your identity is made up of multitudes — the stories you carry, the music you love, the challenges you overcome, the books you read, the communities you’re a part of, and more. But your identity is a colorful blend of not only what you consume or create, but also the questions you ask and what you’re willing to learn.In her CreativeMornings talk Lucy Bellwood shared, “When we box ourselves too tightly into a single identity or career path, we deprive ourselves of the nutrients necessary to remain connected to the world around us. We are lacking in vitamin curiosity.“The things that make you unmistakably you are not just the eclectic edges, but the simple pillars, beliefs, and values that you simply can’t shake. What sort of spirit or energy do you bring to a room? How do you show up in the world? What are your pillars?The most unique care and love you can give to your creative identity is to craft it with your own hands.Our Jakarta chapter chose this month’s exploration of Identity and Nadya Noor illustrated the theme.

January’s theme is ROOTS

A tree is made up of not only its colorful leaves, but also its bark, branches, and most of all — its roots. The roots exist to provide sustenance and a strong foundation for the rest of its body.Examine your own ‘roots.’ When you retrace them, what do you find?In his CreativeMornings talk, James Victore shares, ‘The things that made you weird as a kid make you great today. But only if you put it in your work.’ Identify the things that ground you and what you’ve carried with you over time. How have your roots shaped who you are today?The start of a brand-new decade gives you the perfect excuse to dig up the old and to nourish the elements that sustain you. Courageous, creative work begins below the ground.Our Québec chapter chose this month’s exploration of Roots and Félix Girard illustrated the theme.

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