GR series mixes art, creativity with networking

Oct 26, 2015

You’ve heard of business networking lectures and meetings, but what about creative? A Grand Rapids group hosts monthly morning meet-ups featuring local artistic endeavors and discussion.

"I feel like Grand Rapids is the best-kept secret."

Julia Jamieson runs Creative Mornings Grand Rapids – a monthly meet-up and lecture series with a focus on networking through artistic creation and spaces. 

She says the west Michigan creative community is friendly, vibrant and not as well-known, perhaps, as it could be. The chapter celebrated its first year here earlier this summer. 

Jamieson says events are similar to a business networking conference or after-work cocktail, but with a more casual vibe. 

"I think people like it because technically it is a networking breakfast in some way or another, but it’s much more casual. It’s pretty low-key," she says. "We get different vendors each time, we have music playing – we try to make it fun." 

Jamieson says Creative Mornings as a concept started in New York in 2008 by Tina Roth Eisenberg.

"She was frustrated with a lot of conferences costing a ton of money – you have to take off work, you have to go out of town to get that inspirational moment," Jamieson says. "And [Eisenberg] said, 'well, what if we just do this in my studio in Brooklyn?'"

Jamieson says friends of Eisenberg’s who liked the concept started events in Los Angeles and Zurich, and it snowballed from there. Creative Mornings events are now held monthly in 130 cities internationally and organized around the same theme.

Previous themes this year include 'collaboration' and 'action'. October’s theme is 'Shock'.

Having lived in larger cities herself, Jamieson says there’s a lot to appreciate about west Michigan creativity.

"I think what’s unique about Grand Rapids is you have top-notch talent, people doing crazy stuff that is world-class. Top-notch work - but people are approachable, you can talk to them," she says. "So I think it’s this mix of like, really great talent but then (also) west Michigan humility."

Creative Mornings GR events are free but tickets are numbered, and they tend to go fairly quickly.

The group’s next meet-up is October 29 at UICA.

You can learn more at CreativeMornings.com/cities/GR.