A Meet-Up of Catholic Creatives, eager to use their gifts and creative thinking for the Church, glorifying the Lord rather than themselves.

Goal #1 was to get creative minds together. 

Goal #2 was the design challenge: how do we fix the ugly parish bulletin? Bring a bulletin, and let’s get to work.

 

 
 

 

Participants included  both professionals and amateurs in the fields of graphic design, marketing, music, aerospace engineering, youth ministry, writing, illustration, communications, social media, and consulting.

Individuals were from the Midwest, including Kansas City; Dallas, TX; Lincoln, NE; Little Rock, AR and Houston, TX.

This meet-up was organized by:

 

Edmund Mitchell: youth ministry, Reverb Culture. Gabriella Thompson: graphic design, social design. Marcellino D'Ambrosio: web design, Crossroads Pursuit. Anthony D'Ambrosio: digital marketing, Crossroads Pursuit.

 

 

 

Because we’re cheap millennials testing out an event idea, we met at coordinator Edmund Mitchell’s house in Fort Worth, TX— but, a creative meet-up calls for a creative space.

 

 

Arriving between 4-4:30, attendees were welcomed by a “sign-in” table and given a stack of post-it notes, a sharpie, and an index card for writing their name/field/social media. 

After putting their info card up and taping their bulletin to the wall, creatives moved to the gathering space, grabbed a brew, met one another, discussed questions on the posters and added their ideas to the posters:

 

 

This was essential for gathering ideas and needs of Catholic Creatives, and kickstarted new directions for the movement. This also encouraged problem-solving, and allowed creatives to complain a bit!

 

 

At 5pm, we moved into the “work room” and started with a bit of creative problem-solving and a lot of humor. Divided into 3 groups, creatives were given tongue-in-cheek pairings of challenges and channels:

 

 

Groups had 20 minutes to plan and 2 minutes to give their “pitch”. After hilarious pitches and a group vote, the clear winner was PSLAM, the Google Glass app for giving hilarious, Biblical rebukes. Outlandish koozies were prizes.

 

 

Coordinators Edmund Mitchell and Marcellino D’Ambrosio began the problem-solving section of the evening with cheers and prayer, which can be found at catholiccreatives.org/prayer.

Coordinator Gabriella Thompson gave a short talk on the intersection of faith and creativity through the lens of Aristotle’s 4 levels of happiness.

 

 

She also presented the challenge for the meet-up, and set the tone for the evening. Some key points:

  • Design (and all creative trades) is not about making, but problem-solving.
    We can apply problem-solving to bigger “problems”, such as needs in the Church, and develop solutions.
     
  • We are all creative problem-solvers.
    If you can identify problems (even complain!), think critically and brainstorm ideas, you are a creative problem-solver!
     
  • We are not here to redesign bulletins, or even have a solution by the end of the evening.
    We are here to start the conversation: to identify problems, and address and open up the issues at the heart of the Church’s beauty/media/communications problem.

 

 

 

Brian Sullivan led this section, and he’s a baller. Check him out.

 

 

He walked us through the process: generation, evaluation, elimination. During the generation stage, judgment is deferred, and quantity is preferred over quality.

 

 

Creatives grabbed their post-its and claimed a portion of wall in the gathering space. During our fast-paced session, everyone addressed bulletins with NI (Nice If) and AI (Awful If)” statements, saying them out loud and covering the wall with them.

We gathered the post-its on a single wall and organized all 300+ notes into categories  such as Color, Typography, Staff, Purpose, Organization/White Space. We then each ranked these categories in order of importance from 1-3.

Counting the votes, Brian helped us conclude that our top 4 concerns were Staff, Purpose, Content, and Organization.

 

 

Cool. But our brains needed a break. Cue tacos.

 

 

 

We got to know each other, talked about everything from emo bands to the Charisms of the Holy Spirit, and continued discussing the issues at hand. Nothing gets mental gears going like  salsa and beans.

 

 

Re-energized, we came together as a group and discussed the 4 conclusive points. 

Structured as an open forum, creatives voiced their perspectives, their personal experiences, proposed solutions and ideas, and dissected others’ solutions through the lens of their own experiences.

 

 

We wrote major points and conclusions on posters. This was an outstandingly fruitful part of the evening, with only 20 of us at this point. After 45 minutes of open forum, we divided into 3 groups and came up with short-term and long-term plans or pitches for addressing the bulletin issue.

However, the points we brought up highlight not only the bulletins, but the “bigger picture” problems in general.

Check out a more in-depth analysis here.

 

 

Wrapping up at 10pm, we enjoyed drinks and music around a bonfire. We lit a couple of the wood pallets on fire, played ukulele and guitar, and generally enjoyed each other’s company. 

 

 
 

If you are interested in coordinating a Meet-Up, have an idea for a future creative challenge, or have other thoughts regarding Catholic Creatives Meet-Ups, shoot us a message.