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Reflection: the Creativity Capsule

On Saturday, April 29th, 2017, FIGMENT Project returned to Windsor Lake in North Adams for its second year of creative community collaboration. FIGMENT North Adams is a free, one-day participatory arts event that catalyzes and celebrates an abundance of creativity and passion. FIGMENT Project aspires to challenge artists and our communities to discovers new ways to create, share, and think together. In support of this mission, my submitted project, the Creativity Capsule, invites participants of all ages to interact with and be inspired by language.

The Creativity Capsule began as a decorative cornice box filled with inspirational materials, such as poetry and prose, visual art, writing prompts, interesting facts and quotations. Anything that remotely ignites curiosity and motivates participants to think creatively throughout their day belongs inside the box. The materials are there to invigorate thought, prompt mental connections and stimulate dialogue within a community.

Traditionally, a 'capsule' encloses or contains something within it for a long period of time. All objects within the Creativity Capsule, however, are up for grabs. In fact, I encourage participants to take from the box, to interact with whichever material influences them to think and respond creatively. The spirit of the Creativity Capsule is not to contain the materials within it, but to instead share a wealth of knowledge. At the heart of this project, the participant’s mind is emblematic of a capsule in which I seek to help culminate.

As the project developed, I needed to ensure several things: 1) that all participants have the opportunity to discover something of interest, and 2) that the Creativity Capsule establishes a platform for connections that will lead to ongoing conversation. With that in mind, I wanted to hone in on the Creativity Capsule’s ability to exercise writing as a form of dialogue. I provide participants with writing utensils and notebooks so they have a place to share their thoughts and communicate with other members of the community. As more participants respond, the journal, ideally, takes on a collage form.

Likewise, I created more than twenty collaborative writing prompts. On plain paper, I pose interesting and imaginative questions that have no right or wrong answer. I encourage participants of all ages and backgrounds to respond and witness the variety of answers. In doing so, participants have an opportunity to realize shared similarities or differences with other members of the community they may not interact with otherwise; they will be exposed to other individuals’ world views.

The writing component attempts to increase conversation and acceptance of other individuals’ ways of thinking. Both the journal and collaborative prompts act as resources to help build connections in which participants can then discuss. It is important to note that although the Creativity Capsule encourages conversation, by no means should that conversation solely be limited to print on paper. The writing component of this project is merely another opportunity for participants to voice their experiences and be heard.

Discussion comes naturally, especially when discovering new inspiration alongside other people who are similarly expressing their experiences. Fundamentally, the Creativity Capsule promotes respectful discussion rather than hinder conversation on topics that enable the community to learn together and listen to each other. It is an opportunity for inclusivity because the Creativity Capsule is a creative learning space for all participant voices to be heard, regardless of gender, age, socio-economic status, education, race or ethnicity. The Creativity Capsule encourages participants to interact with each other and with critical thinking materials in order to strengthen a communal social atmosphere and enhance their capacity for creative connections.

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