Don’t Wait to Create

Don’t wait to create, Steal Like An Artist

By Mary Stargel, Director of Innovation District Programs at The Enterprise Center

Kicking off our summer with Mayor Berke’s challenge to become a city of creators may have you wondering who exactly is a “creative”? I’ve got great news, it’s YOU! You are a creator and you are THE creator our city needs.

Often we sit on the sidelines waiting for other creatives take the stage and express what we are feeling, but Austin Kleon reminds us in Steal Like An Artist, we need to find the artist inside of us. Your unique experience and life here in Chattanooga is what our city needs to become an inclusive, thriving city that’s ready for the future.

Austin Kleon also reminds us that we are shaped by what we love and the inspiration we are looking for is found in what we choose to surround ourselves with. In our city you can find many different expressions of creativity from street art mural jams, Hip Hop CHA shuttle rides, live music at Nightfall to community festivals like the Everyone East Lake Festival and city wide collaboration creating the largest city mural on ML King Boulevard.

While at times it’s easier to think about creative solutions in the wide open spaces of the world of art, we also need to be creative in addressing our cities biggest needs whether its early childhood education, economic mobility or the digital divide. As shared in the recent state of the city address Mayor Berke shared that our city is filled with no shortage of creatives and we have the opportunity to discover creative solutions: from answering Causeway’s challenge question or starting new entrepreneurial ventures with the support of Launch Chattanooga and The Company Lab. Working at the Edney Innovation Center, one of the questions we asked was how to bring together Patten Towers residents and Edney tenants to get to know one another better. Every year we had separate holiday parties so this year we got together and threw a joint holiday block party outside our buildings. Even though it was one of the coldest days of the year, we all came together to share a meal as neighbors and friends.

Now that you know you are a creative, maybe you’re wondering what tools you need? Steal Like An Artist encourages us to be curious and find inspiration all around. Head to the local library and explore ideas you’ve been wondering about. Discover new hobbies at the downtown library 4th Floor while making something new in the makerspace. Head to one of the many after hour events at The Edney Innovation Center and be inspired alongside other thinkers, starters and doers. Find people who share your passions and hobbies and gather them together to create something new.

This summer, let’s try. Try our best to express our creativity in this world we all experience uniquely. Try to give ourselves small challenges and create space to create.

I’m convinced in doing so, individually and collectively, we make our city a better place to be.

Take a look at this book and then join Books With Berke on June 20th at 6pm as we examine the themes of creativity, collaboration, and changing the world. Did we mention author Austin Kleon will be joining us for the book discussion? When’s the last time you got to hear directly from the author at a book club. See you there!