Transforming a town is team work! We've all got to be willing to come together with a variety of partners to make projects happen, to affect policy and to raise the morale of the population. We've got to support each other, be willing to share ideas and keep the spirit of community alive.
Our core team is essential when executing creative projects like public works of art, events, venue creation and building renovation. There are some key players we think are essential:
a graphic designer
social media / web guru
a "techie" or tech savvy human
These key people can work wonders. In the beginning, our projects were able to be successful and gain support because we looked like a million bucks, thanks to the graphic design skills of Robert Blankenship. All of our posters and print materials were attractive to sponsors and to participants, so even before the events were a big deal, they looked like a big deal.
Robert is also a wonderfully gifted photographer. He has documented every beautiful thing that has happened from moment one. So, even when it was just a few of us together being creative, making music, or whatever, he captured it, and he caught the essence and beauty of that human experience. He says that it's very important to frame the shots with the people in them. Some photographers will frame the shots to get an empty field, or negative space, but the reason he's been successful in showing the awesomeness of our sparsely attended happenings is because he is zooming in on the human exchanges: the smiles, the laughs, the concentration of a guitar player on his strings, etc. Photos that don't do that are not effective, and can actually do the event more harm than good by making it look like a drag. Conversely, great photos can attract people to the bright spirit of what you are doing.
A communicator and social media guru will get the word out about what is happening, and keep the people all glued together and in contact. It's important to be able to start conversations with new people, initiate meetings, attend meetings and communicate with leadership, instigate events, etc. A great communicator is essential and highly valuable.
Robert is also our resident techie. Our events are beautiful designed and technically near flawless because he is so skilled with sound production, lighting and more. Now granted, we need to clone Robert. He has entirely too many tasks on his hands. This has been one of our biggest challenges; he has created all these events to very high standards, and there are very few people with the skills and time to make it happen. So, his plate is typically way too full. We hope to score some major grant funding soon to fund a staff person for Robert. In the meantime, he wins the award for most valuable and overworked team member. Typically, these are the jobs that are behind the scenes and don't experience as much recognition and thanks. I'm the one who's always out front, on the news, etc. and people show their appreciation to me pretty often. Robert's job is sometimes thankless. The drive he has exhibited all these years to make this magic happen is absolutely priceless.
People who build things and have general construction skills are very valuable when putting on events and of course, when renovating spaces. Having skilled people as part of your core team would be very smart.
And lastly, we must have artists and creative people at the center of the visioning process as well as throughout the course of your movement. Their out of the box thinking and big picture visioning will drive the projects' originality, color and life.
If you'd like to ask me any questions about our team, your team, or anything else, do so in the comments below.
by Lori McKinney
Creator and Community Organizer