Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Contagious Coffeehouse Creativity

Even clothes in Pozan are creative!
Do you think creativity can be contagious? All the creative people we met in Poland seemed to stimulate my own creative juices. Some of them displayed, worked, or performed in Sweet Surrender, a Christian coffee house in Poznan. At the time, the directors of Sweet Surrender were having trouble getting weekly events scheduled. A long (long) time ago, I served as program director for a regional arts center in Illinois which included a weekly coffee house.
I never had a chance to share these ideas with Sweet Surrender, but here they are, free of charge. Who knows--maybe someone else can use them.
  1. Have set items for, say, each week/weekend of the month. The public will learn what to expect, and you will not have to rethink the schedule. You will simply have to fill in the slots.
  2. First slot on the schedule: open mike. This is a no-brainer. It doesn't cost anything and generates interest. Put this on the last weekend of the month, or every 5th Friday, or something like that. 
  3. Meet the Artist--another possible slot, maybe first weekend of every even month. This could be the opening of an exhibit + workshop by a local artist or reception for the artist. It could also be, maybe every quarter, as simple as covering a wall with blank newsprint, putting out jars of crayons or colored pencils, and inviting patrons to be the artists (could also work with paper tableclothes.
  4. Meet the Writer/Writers' night--another possible slot, maybe first weekend of every odd month. Book signing. Local writer reads + talks about the book. Book sold in shop for the rest of the month. Patrons as writers--workshop in writing haiku's, journaling, family memories, etc.; poetry reading by the public (version of open mike).
  5. Readers' theater/storytime--in this slot (perhaps once a month on an afternoon or early evening if storytime is chosen or perhaps alternating--one month Writers; one month story tellers) small drama productions; puppet theater; or story teller. 
  6. Exploring the sacred--invite representatives from different faith traditions to share an aspect of their spiritual tradition. Include every reasonable group in your area. Discussion afterwards. Increases dialogue. Can be jumping-off point for spiritual discussions. Once a quarter? Once a month?
  7. Language night--a lot of coffeehouses offer English lessons or a time for conversational English. But other language nights are also possible.  Polish, in Poland, for people who are trying to learn the local language. German or Russian or Spanish or Korean . . . for people who want to practice as well as for people who just want a chance to speak their own language.
  8. Any art or craft club--a set time where people who like to knit (or carve or crochet or scrapbook or cross-stitch . . .) can just get together, do their thing, learn from each other, etc. Maybe weekly. A church in Raleigh, N.C., has a weekly Arty Party with an artist/teacher available for advice and encouragement. Great fun!
  9. The Sounds of Poznan (or Slovakia or Missouri or . . .)--local musical talent like singer/songwriters.
Would love to hear of your own experiences--and also whether or not you think creativity is contagious.

No comments:

Post a Comment