Next Atlanta speaker

Kelly Callahan

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July 26, 8:30am • Grace Midtown • part of a series on End

Meet Sohna Harzeez—one of our most dedicated Atlanta chapter volunteers. You might recognize her smiling face from a recent event. We count on her to be there each month to say hi to y’all, direct foot traffic, or help you think of funny things to write on your name tag.

This month, we took a break to get to know her a little better. Read on for her advice on getting involved, and how creativity plays into her day-to-day.

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What do you do for a living?

I pay the bills working as a Library Associate for Fulton County Library System. At work, I preserve books; in my community, I preserve history and community connections; and in my spare time, I preserve sleep. Naps are important.

What does being creative mean to you?

Using every part of your brain to construct solutions to everyday situations.

Tell us about how you got involved with CreativeMornings.

Through Eventbrite. I went to an event and someone told me about it. I noticed that there were a limited number of tickets available—but there was also a call for volunteers.

As I have learned in life, being a volunteer is a guaranteed entry. I get to help an event be successful and I get to be in the room. I am a person who needs inspiration before I do things. 

And just being around people who are where you are trying to go, gives me the motivation I need to get there.

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Which was your favorite talk? What was your most meaningful CM experience?

My favorite talk was Community at Oakland Cemetery. The level of irony and being able to see myself in the presenters was a help, because I was at a point where I had almost given up on my community work. So that was my favorite and the most meaningful talk.

Tell us something about yourself that people wouldn’t be able to Google.

If you could google me, you might find out a lot. However, one thing you won’t see is the work that I put into my community. You may find a flyer or a video interview but you won’t see the organization, connections, love out poured on both sides, and tears cried over mismatched spoons. I am not the best at documenting what I do, so I am glad when someone decides to take pictures to let folks know the great things happening in Pittsburgh. I am doing the work to preserve my block.

This month’s theme is END. Can you tell us a little about how endings factor into your work, interests, or personal projects?

I am a planner so I always think about how things could end (along with like 30 back-up plans_. If I do not think that it will pan out well, I will still see it through to the end. During the planning process for community events, I start with high hopes then get lost in the confusion only to end up happy it worked out while smiling on in fatigue. 

I start everything thinking about the end. I have to see things in totality. If I come up with a business idea, I am up all night designing the interior, creating the logo, drafting the mission statement and tagline, and visually piecing together the staff’s daily wear. After all of that is finished, I can sleep. I wish I could stop but who knows, “I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making.”

Want to nominate another morning person or be featured yourself on this blog? Submit your nomination here.

Does anyone have more style and charm than Ricci deForest? After last Friday at #CMPreserve, we can’t be convinced! Ricci is an integral part of preserving some of Atlanta’s richest history for current and future generations to enjoy. If you missed his talk, check out @werdstudio54, and you may learn something new about this city we call home.

In April, we heard from Wanona Satcher for #CMInclusive! Her company @makhersstudio gives purpose to once-overlooked spaces by creating pop-up libraries, clinics and small businesses in shipping containers. She shared that her ultimate goal is to facilitate inclusion within our neighborhoods and challenge others to re-imagine our roles in relation to space.

How can you help?
Tap a neighbor, partner or friend.
Mark off 8 feet.
Imagine what could happen in that space.
Take a picture and share the possibilities that lay within it.
Tag @wajisa, @makhersstudio , #CMInclusive and #atlanta_cm.

Meet Sarah Lawrence, longtime CreativeMornings attendee and full-time idea person. She runs her own Design Emporium, but her creativity isn’t limited to a screen or a page. As she’s a supporter of all things Atlanta and creativity, we thought the community would love the chance to get to know her a little better.

You might know recognize her from past CM/ATL events with her Living Infographics, seen her personal project Drawing Shit Every Day, or received one of the membership perks she created for We Love BuHi.  

Read on for her take on creativity, inclusivity, and get the scoop on her new (free!) local paper, Unfolded.

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Photo by Figure & Ground ATL

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What does being creative mean to you?

I believe that any person can be creative, whether or not they’re an artist.  (That’s what Unfolded is all about! But more on that later.)

When it comes to my own creativity, I like to think it’s about making connections that nobody has before and trying new ways to solve problems. Creativity has little to do with artistic talent – and even then, I tell people that literally the only way to become better at drawing or representing your ideas visually is to practice. 

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Living Infographic Sarah created for #cmEquality, photo by Maria Baetti

Tell us about how you got involved with CreativeMornings.

I first heard about CM from one of my college friends, Brittany, who was involved in helping organize events. The first event I ever attended was Chuck Reece’s talk on Heritage. I’d never heard of Bitter Southerner before his talk and it had a huge impact on me, as someone who’s from the south but doesn’t share a lot of typical southern sensibilities (I hate sweet tea, for example). When he talked about the “y’all line” as the closest delineation of what is the “True South,” it gave me a lot to think about.

I loved being able to hear from and be in the same space as people that are so important and influential in Atlanta. Now I come back each month to learn be inspired, drink too much coffee, and hang out with my friends.

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Buford Highway guidebook and playing card set for We Love BuHi

Favorite talk?

HENSE is definitely up there for me – I grew up loving his work, and was inspired to listen to someone who is so talented but also (actually) humble about his work. I encounter a lot of false humility these days so it was cool to hear such a refreshing voice.

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This month’s theme is INCLUSIVE. Can you tell us how inclusivity factors into your personal projects?

Unfolded is exactly this! I wanted to create a quarterly print publication celebrating creativity—but I wanted the contributors to use creative skills that are unrelated to their professional day job. 

People are so afraid to participate in my public activations, because they think they can’t draw or don’t consider themselves artistic. By asking someone who isn’t a professional writer to review a restaurant or someone who isn’t an artist to illustrate a comic, I’m challenging them to tap into their creativity and practice something they may have never tried before. 

I wanted Unfolded to be inclusive for everyone at every skill level—you can be highly skilled or just learning and still contribute. 

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Issue 2 just hit shelves at coffee shops, cafes, and other local favorites this week! You can either grab them in person while they’re available or sign up to receive one in the mail

If you’re interested in contributing to future issues, seeing past issues, pitching an idea, or sharing your story, head on over to Sarah’s website.

Want to nominate another morning person or be featured yourself on this blog? Submit your nomination here.

Coffee curious? ☕️🤔 Learn where it’s grown, when it’s processed and how it’s roasted at our April Field Trip with @docentcoffee. Get caffeinated for a morning of art, coffee and community at the place @atlantacoffeeshops says has the ability to make, “coffee and art accessible, without being snobby or pretentious.”

Last month, we heard from Doll Avant of Aquagenuity at Woodruff Arts Center for #CMWater. She spoke about water purity levels and their affects on our bodies. Doll left us with just one question, what’s in your water? 

Grab your permission slips and load up the busses because we’re headed on a FieldTrip! These small group gatherings provide another opportunity to learn, connect and network outside of actual CreativeMornings events. FieldTrips are held at a different place each month and are on a first come first serve basis. January’s FieldTrip took us to Just Add Honey for tea tasting and a behind-the-scenes tour with founders, Jermail and Brandi Shelton. In February, we ventured over to Mary Stanley Studios in Midtown with Young Collector’s Club for a night of learning about beginning your own art collection, a tour of Mary’s in home studio and a view of her private collection. This month, we will be heading to a Storytelling Workshop with Friendly Human! We’ll be going behind the scenes to discover how they approach strategy, content and design. This month’s field trip is full, but click here to join the waitlist. Follow us on Instagram for a roundup of previous FieldTrips and be the first to know about where we are stopping next!

Need a little something to quench your curiosity until we hear from Doll Avant on March 29th? Click here to listen to her TEDx talk! #CreativeMornings/ATL #CMWater #DollAvant

Attention podcast enthusiasts! The Creative Rising, hosted by our very own organizer Blake Howard, is a podcast designed to help creative professionals overcome the obstacles in their creative careers. Learn from seasoned professionals on specific terrifying topics and how they overcame adversity in this interview style podcast. Check it out here.

TURNING CHAOS INTO ORDER—To discuss the beauty of chaos, our speaker this month is Pouya Dianat, Creator and Managing Director at Beam, a creative studio rethinking the means and methods of storytelling. Beam specializes in augmented applications of video and photos to create imaginative solutions for clients such as the Braves and Delta.

He’ll be sharing about the five growing areas of technological research that are enabling us to adapt in some long overdue ways to the chaotic, ever-changing world around us. 

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