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“Everyone is creative. Everyone is welcome.”

“Everyone is creative. Everyone is welcome.” – CreativeMornings Manifesto

In Buffalo each second Friday, first thing in the morning, a group of individuals from all walks of life gather with one idea: to grow as creative people. This is not your typical group of ‘creatives.’ Scientists, artists, entrepreneurs, activists, social workers, and others all show up each month to help nurture their creativity and connect with others.

CreativeMornings/Buffalo is a breakfast speaker series with built-in networking. With over 200 chapters in cities around the United States and the globe, CreativeMornings has become a movement. The Buffalo chapter is the 132nd to launch, and as it enters its third year, this anniversary is one to celebrate. This volunteer-run morning event is celebrating the best of Buffalo in a delicious way.

CreativeMornings’ DJ plays dance music while the crowd gathers. Holding a tasty Paula’s Donut, an attendee might be found sampling locally made kombucha or participating in a communal art project. The room is friendly and–while business cards are passed and handshakes made–the mission of participants is not self-promotion. Instead, CreativeMornings/Buffalo participants come to be inspired. As the manifesto states, “We bring together people who are driven by passion and purpose, confident that they will inspire one another, and inspire change in neighborhoods and cities around the world.”

When the group gathers in chairs for the speaker, the first person to take the mic isn’t a field expert, but a local artist from Buffalo’s music scene. Coffee can help a person meet the challenges of the day ahead, but if you’re still struggling to fully wake up, there’s nothing like talented local musicians to get you there.

Kelly Atkinson, the host of Buffalo’s Creative Mornings chapter, shares, “Each month, we welcome our community to grow, to conspire, and to imagine. Bringing in speakers from every part of Buffalo’s creative world, we hope to celebrate our city and inspire its continued resurgence, with creativity in the forefront.”

Each month, every chapter worldwide shares a talk on the same theme. Morning talks have been offered by artists, chefs, break dancers, barbers, photographers, poets, and more. May’s talk was shared by the incredible Joann Falletta of the Buffalo Philharmonic, while April’s was offered by Andrea Russell, an advocate for the Deaf community. Arts and service organizations, for-profit and nonprofit, each speaker represents a different corner of Buffalo and what makes it amazing.

“I volunteer because it gives me accountability for creating outside of work. It’s introduced a means of collaboration that I often don’t get in remote work, and it passes that opportunity forward to the greater community,” says Lori Schkufza, artist and animator.

CreativeMornings International started 11 years ago, in 2008, Tina Roth Eisenberg started CreativeMornings out of a desire for an ongoing, accessible event for New York’s creative community. The concept was simple: breakfast and a short talk one Friday morning a month, now in 204 cities around the world.

CreativeMornings are very special to me. You can count on every presentation to be unique, informative and enriching. You are always connected to someone new who is adding value to our community,” comments Celeste Lawson, local writer, poet, and arts advocate.

CreativeMornings, for me, is about being exposed to thinking that’s different than my own, both locally and globally. I volunteer because I want to help provide that to Buffalo as well,” says John Atkinson, Professor of Engineering.

And there’s room for you! Registration is free and all are welcome. Register @ CreativeMorning/Buffalo. Ability to watercolor or perform slam poetry is not required.

Co-written by Nikki Hitchcock, City of Light Consulting | Photos by Derek Neuland

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Written by Mark Lazzara

Mark Lazzara

I have a passion for helping my fellow Western New Yorkers and advance the great things that are going on in this region. Buffalo Rising is a great booster and it’s a blast writing and contributing to BR about positive happenings in our neck of the woods. I appreciate the help I’ve received over the years from organizations and people who share my passion and supported me in efforts that put thousands of people to work and resulted in a community give back of more than $115M to Buffalo’s neediest during my days at the helm of AmeriCorps.

I’m especially grateful for the opportunities that enabled me to help cities devastated by Hurricane Katrina and rebuild more than 700 family homes that were destroyed. Back at home, I was able to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience as a coordinator for ABC’s Extreme Makeover Home Edition where we were able to repair, beautify and upgrade homes for an entire neighborhood on Buffalo’s Westside. Other projects close to my heart include a collaboration with Sail Buffalo to build the Cazenovia Boating Center at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor, and my annual Christmas season time is spent at Buffalo’s treasure, the Broadway Market, playing Santa Clause.

In my other life, I am a workforce development, business, marketing, public relations and fundraising professional. Earned a M.S. Human Service Management from Buffalo State, and enjoy my family life that includes four amazing grandchildren!

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