Sometimes inspiration comes from the oddest places, straight out of left field when you weren’t even playing baseball in the first place. The seed of an idea or the wisp of an image comes to mind in the shower or on a commute, takes hold and won’t go away. I tend to fixate on the wisp, follow a creative trail of thoughts and extrapolations, and then get mired in the Pit of Perfectionism. That’s where I think it to death. At some point the idea flies away in the midst of life, job and family busy-ness.
But this idea – Sparks & Muses – has taken hold and grown. And we're pretty excited about it.
Here’s the story:
A couple of years ago, Dan and I moved back to Maryland after nearly two decades living in other places. In 1996, I bought a one-way ticket to San Francisco and didn’t think I’d ever move back east. Dan had spent 10 years in Rochester, NY before moving out to Oakland to join me. We moved “home” to Maryland in 2013 to be near family – aging parents, siblings, cousins, roots – and found that relocation is not necessarily a straightforward process once you’re an “adult”. Our social and professional networks are in the Bay Area, and switching coasts brought up a host of internal questions about who we are and what we really want to do with our lives. (We haven’t figured that out yet. Stay tuned. Should be a fun ride.)
The idea for Sparks & Muses came to us this past fall when Artomatic 2016 came to New Carrollton, Maryland, the city I happen to work for. Artomatic is an unjuried pop-up community arts festival that takes over giant vacant office buildings and builds community through art and performances. This year’s event showed the work of 1,000+ visual and performing artists for free over a six-week period. It’s the first event of its kind to come to the area, and event organizers expected tens of thousands of visitors over the six-week run. My job was to connect this very cool event to the city through promotions and marketing, and to get New Carrollton on people’s radars. I had about a month’s notice and a budget of about$0 to make it happen. It was fun, fast paced and a little stressful at times.