Those who are in the midst of creating work know that it comes from that certain place in their being that drives them to create. It may be a special moment, memory, deep in your heart or gut, or a mixture of all the above. For example, mine is that place below my heart and above my stomach where I visualize it as the depths where the rising of butterflies from my stomach and longing of my heart collides.
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In my experience, I have seen what can happen to creative people or know of people in the midst of what I like to call The Gaps. These gaps are found in the creative process and in peoples’ personal lives. Often times when you are meant to keep producing, keep pressing on like the Kool-Aid Man and running through walls to form the end “product”, these gaps grow bigger and bigger and then ultimately cluster. They become the damaged space where creativity gets infected. Anyone that has experienced this feeling knows that:
It feels like you’re in it alone.
With damaged space, people often get stuck and have blocks, quit, develop a “grass is greener” mentality or end up still creating… This inevitably seeps out into our work. I moved back to Wichita after having been away for so long, I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. I felt secluded. I reached out and wanted people to talk about how they restarted themselves or got to be who they are… I was in the midst of the Terrible Gaps.
Meanwhile, I was devouring online channels and networks like TEDTalks, Behance, and CreativeMornings, but I was living in Wichita where no one was talking… After what I call My Year of Wallow, I decided to stop asking the questions, “Where should I go?” or “Where can I fit in?” and “Why aren’t people talking about their processes?” The fact of the matter was that there wasn’t a place for this conversation, and people weren’t sharing their stories to help each other in this way. The only logical choice was to do something about it. So I began to ask these questions: “What could this look like?” “Where could we go?” “Why not?” “If I am quietly struggling with this, aren’t other people too?”
I wanted to create a space where people with The Gaps could creatively collide.
In April of 2011 – I reached out and was able to start a dialogue with the founder of Creative Mornings, Tina Roth Eisenberg (Swiss-Miss designs/blog/studio) and Greg Storey (Happy Cog Studios : Founded and ran CM in San Francisco) for feedback regarding starting and sustaining creative community, I scheduled the first planning meeting for May 2011. Fifteen people of various creative fields showed up to get involved and volunteer. I was convinced that I had to try or die on this. Other people are in fact struggling with this too.
1st TUE Talks launched in August of 2011 at NakedCity Gallery. Since then we’ve moved the OrangeCouch all over Wichita to Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, Roxy’s Downtown, PUBLIC at the Brickyard, Ulrich Museum of Fine Art, The Monarch, Wichita Center for the Arts (now Mark Arts), Fisch Haus, various art galleries, restaurants, and many other local spots. For over 5 years, we would bring together three to five people with Torin as moderator in conversation and insight of their experiences in the creative process. Handcrafted food prepared by our local artisans and drink was available at every event. $5 donations.
Connection and community are the primary components behind the talks. Held every month, excluding January, they take place at rotating venues downtown and include a panel, food, drinks and conversation. This past June, a chef, a sculptor and a gallery director turned public relations specialist explored the vexing topic of work/life balance. Other focuses have included nurturing creative talent, taking the stairs to success, ways to market one’s work, and how to get a book published. Brown said that there are always at least 50 people at the talks, and that they pull in new faces each month.
“The talks are always curated based on input from the community,” Brown said. “By design, the featured panelists are from varied backgrounds and fields in the creative industry.” – Jason Dilts, Wichita Eagle – read more here.
1st TUE Talks have now been rebranded to “OrangeCouch Talks” as of January 2017
BUILDING THE EVENTS ENGINEER
I met Lisa Rundstrom in the beginning stages of CreativeRush and have been co-curating annual art show experiences since 2012. In collaboration with WSU Shift Space, we have exhibited for ICT Final Fridays and have had over 600 in attendance every year.
2012 : Come To Your Senses • 2014 : Secrets of Suburbia • 2015 : Port-iful Actions • 2016 : Stratification • 2017 : MULTIBUBBLE
To get myself back in the community when I returned from Wichita, I got involved volunteering at Tallgrass Film Festival and met Lela (Creative Dir) during that time and now co-direct, “Down to the Wire a 24 HR Film Race” which is one Wichita’s largest filmmaking events.
Supporters of the 5th annual race, which attracted 34 filmmaking teams and more than 300 filmmakers, included presenting sponsor Fidelity Bank, Vimeo, Wichita Orpheum Theatre, The Arts Council and KMUW, Wichita Public Radio. Nearly 1,000 audience members attended the Top Ten Showcase at the conclusion of the race.
Since 2011 and the inception of 1st TUE Talks, we have produced over 6 Programs with separate events such as Songwriter Studio, Down to the Wire a 24 HR Film Race, School of StreetSmarts, IndieConnect, and other community events. In 2017, we will be announcing a new lineup of events with an educational and apprenticeship connection to our art, film, food, science, music, theatre, and spoken word communities.
Kylie has been invited to be a guest judge to speaking to groups and students about entrepreneurship in the arts, digital media, guerilla filmmaking, her own creative process at Wichita Art Museum, Wichita Professional Communicators, Upward Bound Prep, Wichita State University, Newman University, Project Runaway, and Wichita East High School to name a few
If you are interested in scheduling an event or having our team come speak to your class or event, please contact us!