Three Nights. Three Talks.

Last week was a whirlwind of creativity as I ventured out each night to hear others speak about what makes them tick and how they got to where they are today.

My three nights of creative talks started with brilliant, New York painter, Kehinde Wiley. Wiley depicts minorities in a way unlike anything I’ve seen before. Inspired by the old Renaissance paintings, Wiley replicates the poses using everyday people that he finds on the street.

By using people of color, Kehinde is breaking stereotypes and invading a space typically reserved for wealthy, royal, white people. His use of handmade frames, large canvases, regal poses, and patterns pulled from that person’s culture creates a powerful statement that can not be ignored.

He also goes into the “performance of masculinity.” It is the idea that men have to exude this sense of strength and he turns it on its head as he presents men in vulnerable positions. It reminds us that men are capable of feeling emotions beyond those attributed to masculinity.

It was a brilliant talk and I’m incredibly happy that I found time to hear it.

The next night I went to Slide Jam at the Akron Art Museum. This event is similar to TED Talks. Presenters get a designated amount of time to speak about their profession and how it impacts their community.

This talk was in conjunction with the art museum’s Inside | Out exhibits that were showing throughout the summer and autumn. These are people that they met who were out in the community making a difference.

The speakers included Dave Massary from Akron Bike Party, Wesley Ian from Akron Honey Company, Cristina González Alcalá from Not Yo Daddy’s, the University of Akron’s NASA Robotics Team, Danette Rushboldt from Summit County Metro Parks, and Amy Mothersbaugh from Studio 2901.

It was incredible hearing each of these people’s stories. Their contributions to this community are priceless.

The last evening, I went to a creative talk series called PechaKucha. No one is quite certain how to pronounce the name, but the nearly 300 people that attended didn’t seem to mind.

This event is similar to Slide Jam in the sense that each presenter had an alloted amount of time to present their slides. Each presenter talked about their lives, projects, and some of the ways that they impact the local community. The difference between the two was the fact that at PechaKucha, each presenter had 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide.  This provided quite a bit of entertainment from those who fell behind.

The speakers included (List was taken from the events FB page):

1. Roger Riddle — spoke about his DJ experiences and how he arrived in Akron —

2. Brant Lee – law professor who spoke about race in America —

3. Dominic Falcione – local artist behind The Bit Factory —

4. Rob Ngungu – from Quest Medical Imaging, spoke about their breakthrough technology for cancer surgery —

5. Jennifer Davis – Owner and facilitator of smART Studio — spoke about inspiration and creativity.

6. Priscillia Roggenkamp – International artist —

7. Phylliss Steiner – Hattie Larlham Creative Arts —

8. Joanna Wilson – author, spoke about her latest book The Story of Archie the Talking Snowman –

9. Dominic Caruso – spoke about the art museum* — Akron Art Museum

It was a phenomenal event that exceeded many people’s expectations. There was food, beer, music, dancing and many of the local movers and shakers all under one roof.

After three nights of creativity, I’m inspired to do more. I don’t know how, but I plan to contribute as much as I can to this creative community in which I live.

As always, thanks for reading,

signature*Updated. Previously stated that Dominic spoke about both the museum and his publishing company, but the latter was briefly mentioned in the introduction.

**I apologize for the quality of photos. I only had my phone on me during these events.*

One response to “Three Nights. Three Talks.

  1. Pingback: Slide Jam 2016 – The Devil Strip·

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