The Name of the Game is Risk

Beginning to build a creative culture.

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A few weeks ago I invited some creative souls to get together and discuss ways that we could continue to grow Wholeshot Coffee has a hub for artists. Half of those I invited came to the meeting.

I'm not much for meetings, but I didn't know where else to start, as I feel like I needed help thinking outside my own box for the sorts of events we could offer that will build a warm and creative community.

One of the people who attended asked about creating a Facebook group, a way for us to communicate without having to physically be present in the same space at the same time. I asked him if he would set it up, and this is what he wrote for the ABOUT section of our little Mastermind group:

We will be assisting Mandy Steward in thinking outside her own personal box to help develop Art ideas into events at Wholeshot Coffee that will connect people to their own creativity and let them see that all art is approachable. This will include, but is not limited to gallery development, classes, demos, Q&A with artists, poetry readings, open mic, murals, outdoor music stage, book discussion of "The Artist's Way" and/or "The War of Art", and possibly an Artist in Residency.

This sums up nicely what we discussed at our little meeting of the minds. I was taking notes during our discussion, and ended up writing this at the top of the paper:


Everything I want to try has no guarantee of support or involvement. Not to mention the fact that I'm asking people to do this by volunteering their time, Something I'm not a huge fan of. But I truly am already at the point that I cannot do this alone. I am maxed at out with my capacity to lead, and am struggling to not doublebook myself with hours at Wholeshot and BikeLab events, while also managing my family and working my paid job of teaching. I truly have a vision that is bigger than myself, and as someone who likes to rely only on myself, that is difficult.

Since the meeting and since setting up the Private Facebook Group, I've also been introduced to another young woman who was willing to jump right into leading a Writer's Group. Writing being my first creative love, I am so excited to get to offer this, and I hope we can see it grow and prosper.

Here is what I am trying to focus on currently:

  • Having local art hanging in the Wholeshot gallery at all times.
  • Offering art events monthly on the weekends, with the goal of having art events every weekend. (Current recurring events are Board at Home Painting, Book Club, and Writing Minds Align.)
  • Keeping the wheel moving forward, by always working a couple of months ahead.
  • Asking creative kindreds for help and involvement in leadership aspects.
  • Reaching out and meeting new local artists.
  • Hanging donated permanent art elsewhere in Wholeshot and The Bike Lab.
  • Contributing to the Wholeshot Instagram account on a daily basis and thinking through that visual and written communication for our brand.

I am grateful for those who have jumped in to dream with me, and while I wish I could focus more of my time on this endeavor, I am so glad it is one of the plates I get to spin, as it is truly fulfilling to me to create a culture where artists of any level and across all mediums feel welcomed, inspired and encouraged to pursue their creative endeavors.

I believe hosting these events in a coffee shop/bike shop takes away some of the intimidation that comes with art, as it is in a laid back environment where you're not expecting art classes to be taking place or local art to be hung. I hope it can show that art is for all people, not just a select talented, lucky few.

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