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Happy October, friends! 

We here at Creative Mornings Detroit are thrilled that it’s Fall, our favorite month of the year. (Well, so says our host Anne Marie at least). We began the year going through a lot of changes. It’s been a wonderfully rich experience but also  a challenge to define our voice and the tone we want to project in this new phase of our chapter. 

Our speaker this month is someone who knows this challenge really well. He’s built an exceptional career in guiding companies to define their brand and lead with the honest expression of their core truths.  We hope to see you on October 26 at our new venue, The Belle Isle Aquarium. 

Jim Hume, owner and principal, founded Phire Group in 2004. Under his leadership, Phire Group delivers complete research and brand strategy, creative and comprehensive digital and traditional capabilities to uncover a brand’s full potential.
Hume is known for working closely with brands to create a meaningful and sustainable impact. He is dedicated to building a brand presence for his partners that fosters a strong internal culture with a matching customer experience, so that one is indistinguishable from the other.
With more than 20 years in the industry, he has a wide range of experience working with clients ranging from Fortune 100 companies to startups in consumer goods, healthcare, technology, education, business-to-business, the arts and more.

It’s our favorite day (okay, evening, this time) where we feature the Q&A with this month’s speaker. It’s one of my favorite things because we always feel inspired and learn about new artists to follow. Please enjoy and then join us Friday morning at 8:30 at Floyd Detroit for Drifter coffee (woot!), bagels (probably), and cool people (definitely).

Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here? 

Detroit is the place that first inspired me to be creative, driving in from the suburbs as a teenager to see rock shows or hang out in art galleries. That energy I felt then, that positive force of people coming together for the art of it, it’s still here, and it’s why I’m here 20 years later, and what keeps me sticking around. What do you do when you feel creatively stuck? 

I go for a walk, without my phone, without music. Just me and the neighborhood sounds. I practice walking meditation, and incorporate intention into the walk. It works every time.
What would be your dream project?  I would love to produce a multimedia festival celebrating writers, poets, and storytellers, highlighting their talents in the way musicians are celebrated regularly. Who is another creative person / organization in Detroit that we need to know about? 

Khalid Bhatti, the former executive editor of Detroit Music Magazine, is my go-to guide for all things creative in Detroit. He’s between projects right now, but keep your ears open for his name and trust anything he recommends. I’ve been listening to his creative advice for the last 18 years, and he has never once led me wrong.

What a summer it’s been!! Many of you are getting ready to go back to school, end vacations, and get back to that vacation-days-at-zero work life. Life can get pretty chaotic. We feel you. And in that vein, we’d love to have you join us to hear the very talented Patricia Wheeler talk about Chaos on September 21, at 8:30. You know her from hosting Detroit’s Moth events and just seeing her in all her fabulousness wheeling about town. ;) We’re super excited to work with Floyd as a new venue sponsor and to welcome back Drifter Coffee as our coffee sponsor. Yay for Fall in Michigan.

“Being the Queen is not all about singing, and being a diva is not all about singing. It has much more to do with your service to people. And your soul contributions to your community and your civic contributions as well.”  ~ Aretha Franklin 

We love this quote about community from Detroit’s very own Queen of Soul. Fostering a creative community is one of the fundamental drives of Creative Mornings. We here at the Detroit chapter are honored to have Amanda Lewan be our speaker this month on this important theme. Today, she shares some of her thoughts on Detroit and creativity. Please enjoy, and then join us Friday morning at Bamboo Detroit. 

Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here? I love the community in Detroit. Everyone here is friendly, supportive, and often committed to helping on another grow. That’s what drew me in and why I’m here. 

What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would be your dream project? I love alllll my work. Every project helps you continue to get better and better. I’m not sure I have a dream project outside of what I do every day :)

What do you do when you feel creatively stuck? I usually read, go for a walk, or de-compress. Sometimes taking time away from your project helps you get re-inspired. 

Who is another creative person / organization in Detroit that we need to know about? Detroit Writers Collective (you can find them on Facebook) 

Only a few more days until our July speaking event!! We hope you’re able to come out and join us. It’s one of our favorite non-lecture days here. Q&A day, where our speaker answers questions about life in Detroit and what keeps them creative. Calvin is a “jack-of-all-trades, master-of-none.” And that’s just the way he likes it. There’s always more he can learn about the world and about how people live their lives in it. He is the host of Leading Questions w/Calvin Moore, a moderated roundtable discussion about ongoing issues in our culture. Additionally, in the summer of 2017, Calvin and his wife, Jennifer, started The Dinner Detroit, a weekly, themed potluck-style dinner where they welcome friends, family, and total strangers to their dining room table for a meal. Please enjoy the Q&A. We’ll see you Friday at Lululemon Detroit @ 8:30! 

Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?
I like that Detroit is one of America’s oldest cities. There’s so much rich history here. And, though it may sound cliched, the people really make Detroit what it is. Otherwise, it’s just land and buildings. The people who fill that land and occupy those buildings create the stories that inspire humanity.
What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would be your dream project?
My favorite project I’ve worked on in my adult years is my podcast, Leading Questions with Calvin Moore. I really like being part of the process of helping open people’s eyes to new ideas and a greater perspective on the world. A lot of people are drawn in because of the debate aspect of the show. However, I’m compelled to keep creating content because by the end, even if we don’t reach a consensus, there tends to be mutual respect. That’s something that you don’t see much of in today’s world.
What do you do when you feel creatively stuck?
I’ll generally consult friends and other people trying to create novel things about their creative process.
Who is another creative person /organization in Detroit that we need to know about?
I’m a big fan of Misha Stallworth. Her work with the Luella Hannan Center working with the elderly is inspiring. She’s also the youngest person ever elected to the Detroit Public School Board.
Favorite animated gif?
The Peanut Butter Jelly Time gif. Never gets old.

Two more sleeps until it’s lecture day! Yay!!
Today though is our favorite segment: Q&A with our speakers. It’s where we ask our speakers of the month to fill out a brief questionnaire so we can learn more about them and the cool things they have to share about our city. We hope to see you on Friday. (P.S. We said we’d eventually share Wayne’s photo since we shared Clare’s earlier. Lovely humans, both). 

Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?
We were both born and raised in Detroit. West side + East side! While both of us have spent time living in other places - New England, California, Oklahoma, Ohio, Oregon, Europe, Mexico…. - we always kept returning to Detroit. It is truly unlike any other city. The art, the music, the food, the people - all keep us inspired. What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would be your dream project?
We love making custom dining tables. I don’t think that we can even pick a favorite. We create pieces that are warm, functional, and site specific - built especially for the space and customer. Currently our dream would be to create a table for ourselves! We moved last year and have not had time to build ourselves a dining table. Someday…What do you do when you feel creatively stuck?
Luckily we do so much production work that even when we are not “creating” - we are making. I think that is a key component to this business. People think that we wait for inspiration to strike and then we get busy but an art or craft process is not usually like that. We just have to be in our studio continue working. Making something, anything! These days, we have a back log of prototypes, samples, sketches, and ideas that we work into the mix between projects and regular production. We try to add something new to our small goods collection every season and we’re currently working on at least one custom project at any given time. The set schedule and continued work flow really keeps us on our toes. Who is another creative person / organization in Detroit that we need to know about?
We are very excited about the developments and work of the CCAA - The Center for Craft and Applied Arts. They are really pulling together some great people for great projects.Favorite animated gif?
I’m afraid that we might be a little too analog to have a favorite gif :)

It’s time for one of our favorite things: It’s Q&A time with our monthly speaker. Ivana has had a pretty impressive career (see our previous post with her bio), and we’re so lucky she’s back in Detroit, telling our stories. Please read our Q&A and join us on Friday at Red Bull House of Art at 8:30. It’s gonna be good! 

Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here?

The unique position the city is in – a city with tons of potential, people beginning to once again invent themselves and communities driving for unity. Plus it’s just cool. It’s a cool place to live.

What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would be your dream project?

I’ve been very lucky to have had quite a few, both large and small scale projects I worked on.

My dream project is Detroitisit.com! That’s why I’m committed to it!

My second dream project - if I’m allowed two - is having an animal sanctuary.

What do you do when you feel creatively stuck?

Start doing research online and read sites based on topics such as design, art, fashion, literature, life. These are a few good ones:





Listening to people way smarter than you think you are always helps.

If all else fails, get out into nature. There’s always a remedy in organic forms, fresh scents and little discoveries.

Who is another creative person / organization in Detroit that we need to know about?

There’s so many! Where to start!

Favorite animated gif?

Our first on DII Instagram. It’s a lion and symbolizes power, story and commitment. Check out our IG to see it yourself. 

Our videographer couldn’t make the event, so we don’t have the full video for the talk. But, I did capture this funny moment with our speaker and our audience member playing an improv game called questions, where you can only talk in questions. Fun and hard! :) 

Good morning, everyone! 
Each month, we like to ask our speakers some questions so that we can learn more about all the cool things they do and be inspired by their deep talent. Please enjoy our Q&A with this month’s speaker, Margaret Edwartowski. In our opinion, she hits the nail on the head about the voice of Detroit: “midwest manners but also don’t suffer fools.” And join us tomorrow for lecture day at 8:30 at Planet Ant. See you then! 

Why Detroit? What keeps you inspired here? I started out at Wayne State where I got my theatre degree.  I fell in love with and moved to Detroit during this time.  This was a very different city then, it was the mid 90’s.  Shortly after graduation I was cast at The Second City Detroit and spent years writing satirical material about the city. 

Something pretty amazing was going on in that time for creatives.  Many of us had grown up hearing Detroit mocked in movies and on TV for years.  But we all knew there was something wonderful, gritty, and above all REAL about this place.  It bonded us.  Those bonds still last.

For a long time I was inspired here by the endless opportunities to trailblaze new projects and organizations.  I spent much of the early 2000’s exploring all the possibilities available to me.  I’m also very inspired by the Detroit voice and point of view.  We have midwest manners but also don’t suffer fools or fakes lightly.  Nowadays, I’m inspired by this new generation of creatives coming up.  I was pretty stodgy and closed off to passing the torch, but I’ve come to realize there’s a lot of innovation and great ideas coming from the next generation that are worth giving a chance.

What is your favorite project you’ve ever worked on? What would be your dream project? This is a really tough question.  My time at The Second City Detroit (1996-1999) was my true creative birth.  Everything I did at Planet Ant Theatre was like a self-directed training for creating programs and finding my voice as a writer.  I’ve had a million amazing experiences with the YMCA, sharing my creativity and giving opportunities to other creatives to serve underserved youth.  But I guess my favorite project (at least right now) would be the musical I wrote, Call Me Cass about the life story of Cass Elliot.  I don’t get to sing enough, so performing that music and standing in her shoes is a pretty amazing feeling.
My dream is less about a project than an overall career dream.  I’d like to work toward supporting myself solely as a writer.  I always joke that I want my job to be to go to the mailbox for checks everyday.  I’d love to have a dedicated writing space and be able to spend many hours at it.  Right now I pretty much get an hour or so after my kid goes to bed at night.  It’s never enough.

What do you do when you feel creatively stuck? As a writer, I usually shift gears from writing to reading.  I either find a book to read for enjoyment or start reading what I’m working on from the beginning.  Reading other people’s work is often very inspiring, whether you think what they are doing is great or awful.  Either way can spark creativity.

As a performer, it’s a similar approach.  I force myself to go see performances.  (I’m terrible about making time for that.)  It brings out a competitive streak I have buried deep inside.  Sometimes as an improviser, if my sets have been stale or underwhelming, I try to focus on improving one skill the next time I play.  For example, I’ll try to focus on more physicality or giving more scenic gifts to my partners, etc.  Fix one thing rather than the whole.

Who is another creative person / organization in Detroit that we need to know about? Some dear friends of mine are starting a nonprofit called MiResonance.  It’s all about supporting musicians with accessible mental health services as well as providing space to play and create.  Their website is miresonance.org and they explain it better than I do.  

Favorite animated gif? I’ll be honest.  I literally posted my first gif comment in a thread a couple of weeks ago.  I’m cool in some way, but when it comes to gifs I’m an major old lady.

Hey, everyone.

We’re getting really excited for our talk on Friday. We have the amazingly talented Margaret Edwartowski coming to speak on this month’s theme of game and to tell us about The Detroit Creativity Project. We hope you’ll join us on Friday at Planet Ant at 8:30. Please read more about Margaret in her bio.


Margaret Edwartowski received her BFA in acting from Wayne State University in 1996.   She was a mainstage cast member with The Second City Detroit writing and performing in ten revues.  Over the last twenty years, Margaret spearheaded numerous improv, sketch writing, corporate theatre and play reading programs in the Detroit metro area at venues such as Planet Ant Theatre, Gem and Century Theatres, and the Boll Family YMCA.  In addition to her acting and improvisation credits, Margaret is a playwright and has had many of her plays produced and read at local theatres including:  Planet Ant Theatre, 1515 Broadway, The Ringwald Theatre, The Furniture Factory and Performance Network Theatre.  In 2013 she won a Wilde Award for Best New Script for her play Hamtown Races.  Currently Margaret is the Executive Director of Y Arts Detroit, overseeing and creating arts education and enrichment programs, including The Improv Project - an in-school and after school improv program offered in Detroit schools in partnership with The Detroit Creativity Project.