CreativeMornings Chapters Come in All Shapes and Sizes

Reposted with permission from CreativeMornings.

CreativeMornings/DC is a behemoth, with tickets selling out in minutes and venues holding hundreds of people, usually time to meet and talk with just a minuscule number of the interesting people assembled for any given event.

When I visited CreativeMornings/BUE, I found myself in a much more intimate setting, located in a government-funded industrial park that houses varying creative initiatives throughout the city. I arrived in the midst of a downpour, but the host of the chapter, Laura Marcello, was nonetheless beaming as I walked through the doors. “Thank you so much for coming,” she warmly welcomed, her six year old son in-tow. Pedro scurried around the two dozen assembled participants, acting as the unofficial CreativeMornings greeter and serving up a natural dose of caffeine as we waited for the coffee to arrive. It almost felt like CreativeMornings was being hosted in Laura’s living room, an intimateness that served as a nice shift from the hustle and bustle of previous cities.

Waking Up With CreativeMornings/Montevideo

Reposted with permission from CreativeMornings.

The purpose of embarking on my CreativeMornings World Tour was to explore one central question in-depth: what do creative communities look like around the world?

It seems fitting that the first stop of my CreativeMornings tour was Montevideo. In many ways, Montevideo sits at the opposite of what I’ve become accustomed to in Washington; it’s the sleepy coastal capital of Uruguay, a country whose entire population (3.4 million) barely composes one-third of the Washington metropolitan area. It’s laidback, insular culture serves in sharp contrast to the fast-paced and deeply internationally-minded nature of Washington.

Vale Pi, the bubbly CreativeMornings/Montevideo host, invited me out to meet her CreativeMornings “All-Star Team” the first night that I landed in Uruguay. I arrived to Futuro Refuerzos, a bustling sandwich shop and bar overlooking the coastline, right at the end of their monthly planning meeting, where they had been discussing ideas for the upcoming event. The intervening hours were spent with Vale drinking and learning about the local CreativeMornings chapter: how she’d first been exposed to CreativeMornings/Barcelona before returning home and pooling together volunteers for the application; that she’s already begun saving up money to attend the CreativeMornings Summit for volunteer organizers later this year; and the process of building up the local chapter to where it stands today.

Tapping Into a Global Community

Reposted with permission from CreativeMornings.

I’ve never been a morning person.

In fact, I’d go so far as to list sleep as a hobby, which makes the act of setting my alarm to wake up early no small deal.

But ever since I dragged myself out of bed for that first CreativeMornings/DC event in March 2013, I’ve found myself slowly inching towards embracing those early mornings.

I vividly remember my first event: dozens of people with beaming, caffeinated smiles buzzing about with name tags exclaiming “Warning: Morning Person!” The steam from the pour overs of local roastery Vigilante Coffee illuminated the room, and the sun poured in through the wide windows of the Gibson Guitar Showroom. Three years later, I’d successfully dragged myself out of bed early enough to check-off an additional 27 CreativeMornings/DC events.

Photo credits, from left to right: Pam Janzesian and Stellar; Kate Warren; Kate Warren; Kate Warren.

Every month, the scope and ambition of the DC chapter has grown. What started as a modest gathering quickly grew by word-of-mouth into one of the hottest tickets in town, with two hundred tickets regularly selling out in minutes. I soon became a regular volunteer to guarantee my spot, helping to greet participants at the check-in table and live-tweet the events.