artdude creative

Sep 15th 2014 | Joe Smith

ArtCamp Afterglow

See it, experience it

Have you ever had your imagination materialize before your very eyes? In the case of ArtCamp, an event involving a handful of organizations, a thriving and creative middle Tennessee region, 250 arts advocates, a couple dozen pizzas, a hundred cups of coffee, and countless square pieces of colored paper, we are talking about a complex moment of imagination.

When I have an informed, micro-second, imagination moment (if you know me you will completely understand what this is) that nugget is accessible at a later time when I can unpack the details. It's like the big bang really, right? All the components and potential energy in a flash.

The ArtCamp micro-second was wrapped in this arts community, and informed by events, groups, and arts leaders. While the details were unpack-able right away, the immediacy of how it would feel to be 'doing' ArtCamp was palpable. I knew what it would feel like to be in-the-moment of the ArtCamp event.

Doubt creeps in

At first it was the huge amount of work it would take to organize a volunteer crew, raise sponsorship money, track money, find a venue, and produce an event with this many layers. Thanks to 12th & Broad those doubts were alleviated in one organizing, sponsor making, venue loving, event producing swoop. The last doubt came 20 minutes before the doors opened. “Nobody's gonna come!” And then you came.

While standing in that central space absorbing the buzz of participants and presenters spilling into the halls and knew my imagination had materialized in fully operational, death star fashion.

A few things to learn

Are there things to learn? Yes. Are there things we will do differently? A few. I will say the most important change is to tell more people. More people on the front end and the back end. We will continue and start conversations. There are more organizations who can significantly contribute to this conversation. There is a significant portion of the middle Tennessee population that will need to hear about ArtCamp. And we will do ArtCamp again in the late summer or early fall of 2015!


It became apparent throughout the day that an event like this holds a responsibility to its original goal beyond just that one day. The stated goal is to

raise the bar in Nashville for the arts in the artists themselves, the available space to perform and exhibit art, and the consumers of art, collectors and entities who pay money for art.
So, as we seek out and enable more connections, conversation and content let's find more ways to feed that goal and help turn Nashville into the new American Renaissance City!

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