The results? creativity definitions or creativity quotes
Creativity can’t be googled. It’s a collision of ideas, shaped by experiences and in-real-life tangible connections between actual people.
That’s exactly why Visual Art Exchange (VAE) is hosting its Ignite Creativity Summit, June 3 and 4 in downtown Raleigh’s warehouse district.
“The Summit is a full day in a networking setting with panels, breakout sessions, and opportunities to buddy up with industry gurus and learn about some outstanding forms of creativity happening in this community,” said Rachel Herrick, event coordinator and Director of Initiatives at VAE.
“Our main focus is to get people excited and think bigger about creativity. The rest of the year we’ll give them the technical skills to realize their bigger ideas,” Herrick said.
“There’s something at Ignite for everyone,” Herrick explained. “We’ve spent a lot of our planning thinking about how to make it accessible, such as shuffling the programming around to provide a free keynote and significantly lowered registration prices.
“One just needs to have the interest and enthusiasm about creativity. It’s not something for other people. It’s for you.”
And then there’s the money, in the form of Lighter Fluid pitches and an Ignite Creativity Fellowship. Attendees who register by May 23 have the chance to pitch their ideas to the audience, vying for four $250 prizes awarded on the spot as well as a $1000 fellowship.
This year’s theme is HOME. “VAE sat in on a lot of the Raleigh Arts Plan meetings and heard hours and hours of people talking about what being a creative person means to them here and what is lacking. It got us thinking about all the good stuff that happens when artists stay connected to their community,” Herrick said.
“Simply put, this year’s Ignite theme is HOME because I heard Vanessa German on NPR and was electrified,” recalls Herrick. “When she agreed to come to Raleigh and give the keynote address, our plan for the summit became clear: we were going home. A few years ago, Vanessa’s idea of home was the four walls around her: a safe, private space. She’s an artist, and like most artists she wanted to be left alone to make her art. When her community began literally breaking down her door and stealing her art supplies, she reacted just like any of us would. She said ‘get out. Leave me alone. Don’t touch my stuff.’
“But the community didn’t go away; it pushed in and busted Vanessa’s world and her art wide open. Her concept of home became bigger than four walls; it became about people and relationships. Generosity and reciprocity. Love. Community is a fine descriptor for city planners and grants writers, but what Vanessa experienced — what she created —was the building of a new home. When she accepted the support and inspiration her home had to offer, big things happened for her as an artist and for her troubled community. Kids that formerly got into trouble now thought of themselves as having worth. They started going to school. Graduating. Vanessa started to have her art exhibited in nationally renowned museums, doing TED Talks and speaking at Harvard.
“VAE/Ignite wants this kind of holistic success for all artists and has built the 2016 summit with a mission to inspire artists to find home. At VAE we believe in paying it forward; that being open to your world, your community and being generous to people in your life leads to amazing creative opportunities that don’t happen any other way.”
Friday night’s keynote speaker is a true “citizen artist.” Featured in Huffington Post in a series of four profiles on unknown American artists selected for an exhibit at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Vanessa German is a sculptor “using trash to inspire one of Pittsburgh’s toughest neighborhoods to make art.”
A visual and performance artist based in the Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood, German incorporates Homewood’s cast-off relics to “form the language of her copiously embellished sculptures.” She “explores the power of art and love as a transformative force in the dynamic cultural ecosystem of communities and neighborhoods” as the founder of Love Front Porch and the ARThouse, a community arts initiative for the children of Homewood “built to stack the deck in matters of justice, worth and healing.”
German’s fine art work has been exhibited widely, most recently at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Ringling Museum of Art in Sarasota, Florida and in the traveling exhibition State of The Art: Discovering American Art Now. She performs nationally, recently presenting TED talks at Harvard and MIT, and her work has been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, NPR’s All Things Considered and in O Magazine and Essence Magazine, among others.
Following German’s free and open-to-the-public keynote, the night ends with a citywide gallery walk as part of First Friday festivities. The fun picks up again on Saturday with a full day of talks about regional projects (including the Vollis Simpson Whirlygig Park, Hidden Voices, FUHB2 and Air Horn Orchestra) that are transforming their communities through creativity, with a lunch and resource mixer at CAM Raleigh.
Attendees who aren’t in it for the cash can register, or RSVP for the Friday night keynote, as late as June 2 or until the event sells out. In the spirit of giving back and thanks to some generous supporters, Ignite offers a few scholarship spots to deserving artists who would like to attend but may not be able to swing the $50 non-member registration fee.
Formed by and for artists as a non-commercial venue in 1980 to support the advancement of artists, VAE is Raleigh’s longest-running, private, non-profit visual arts organization. Specializing in creative collisions, its largest program is SPARKcon, an interdisciplinary art festival over four days in September showcasing more than 2,000 artists, designers, musicians and performers for 30,000 festival-goers.
VAE’s Ignite learning program is now year-round, “tailored to taking big ideas and make them happen” through tech workshops, one-on-one support and fun networking. Its online resource guide supports creatives 24/7, offering advice on marketing, tips for new artists and perfecting presentations.
Just don’t look up “creativity.”