SMocK: A Paint Party, Gift Idea, and Creative Way to Help Fund The Arts

by Lynn S. Schwebach A lifelong friend who knows me quite well, called me while I was living in Chicago this past summer and asked me if I wanted to go with her to a party.  “I know you’re going to love this. The party involves eating, drinking, and PAINTING.” “I’m in,” I said, hearing …

Audrey Niffenegger: An Interview on Writing Books, Creating Art, and Teaching

by Lynn S. Schwebach When you discover an author who is also a visual artist, you’re on the path to uncovering the secrets of creativity. Someone who works in both artistic domains is defying those experts who say we are either “word” people or “image” people. Which happens to be the case with Audrey Niffenegger. …

Growing and Designing a Creative Community Garden in Chicago’s Logan Square

by Lynn S. Schwebach Sometimes when intentions are good and solutions for helping others and the world are the goals, creativity snowballs, breeding ideas that are truly innovative and unique. Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood has a corner – literally – on this type of creativity. The Altgeld Sawyer Corner Farm at 3240 W. Altgeld St., …

Reinventing Blue Island’s Lyric Theater

by Lynn S. Schwebach Looking back on her life, Amy Malysa observes a pattern: about every 10 years she reinvents herself – which she admits, on further reflection, is a way to continually express her creativity while giving back to those who have gone before. Sitting in the Mexican restaurant Tenochtitlan on Western Ave. in …

Sheila Dunn’s Authenticity on Life and Art

"Nude in white" by Sheila Dunn by Lynn S. Schwebach If I could pick my neighbors, I would choose to live next door to Sheila Dunn. I want to be able to knock on her door at anytime to get a glimpse of her next creation. Maybe she would invite me in, from time to time, and I could ask her …

Become a Traveler Not a Tourist

by Lynn S. Schwebach Authors working at the start of the 20th century— Henry James, Edith Wharton, Somerset Maugham—traveled widely throughout the U.S. and Europe, often residing in different “summer” and “winter” locales. Many of these writers’ iconic characters did the same, which added to their complexity and interesting lifestyles. Creative individuals of all genres romanticize …

Strange, Creative Trees and Frito Toes in Minneapolis

Officially, it’s summer – just in case you haven’t noticed. After two weeks of a fantastic pastel painting class with Laurie Beth Zuckerman in Fort Collins,  I packed my car and headed to the Midwest. My first stop was Minneapolis. Creative gardens and garage doors, skyscrapers, thrift stores, strange  trees, and friendly residents gave my …

“V” Lives his Life Without Creative Limits

h by Lynn S. Schwebach Laughing so hard that he found it difficult to talk, Nguyen Vu Tung described Christmas eve in Hanoi as a throng of young, thin Vietnamese men dressed as Santa Claus, driving on motorbikes, sometimes two Santas per bike, a large sack of toys thrown across one Santa’s back. Year round, …

Is the Campaign Promise to Smoke Pot Truly Creative?

by Lynn S. Schwebach  Promising to light up a marijuana joint if you win a congressional seat is original, but does it qualify as truly creative? “It’s certainly novel and original,” said Dean Keith Simonton, Ph.D., of the University of California, Davis. I asked Simonton this question regarding Andy Caffrey’s vow to light up on …

Creativity at Home or in a Coffee Shop?

Graphic designer Rachel Ridenour works on a logo design at Starry Night Coffee Shop in Fort Collins, Colo. by Lynn S. Schwebach Reclusive artists working in solitary studios are often the main characters in books and movies – their idiosyncratic natures providing fertile material for complex and interesting characters. Today we can add another type …