On Friday morning, a group of creative minds from Charlottesville tuned into a Zoom call. The goal? Have a coffee and listen to an artist talk about his journey.
This is the general premise of CreativeMatins.The original idea was to unite the creative minds of New York over a free breakfast one Friday a month. But what started small has grown into something huge. CreativeMornings now has 223 chapters in 67 countries and has over 11.6 million video views. Each month’s speaker is selected from their chapter based on an overall theme.
The Charlottesville chapter started the day with a 30-minute unstructured discussion, where participants grab coffee and talk about whatever comes to mind. Even though the Zoom event was over, attendees still found ways to connect with each other and foster conversation.
This month’s theme is “kismet”, a Turkish word that has come to mean “fate and fortune” in common understanding. For CreativeMornings, that means recognizing when good fortune has opened the door to new opportunities and choosing to seize your destiny rather than letting it pass.
Participants were asked to change their on-screen name tags to include not only their name and pronouns, but also their answer to the question, “Do you believe in fate?” In addition to this conversation starter, Charlottesville musician and artist Ramona Martinez offered tarot card readings to anyone who wanted one, answering questions about next steps in relationships and careers. Despite the virtual setting, the environment was warm and inviting, and especially welcoming to new participants.
Charlottesville animator and freelance photographer Kori Price then started with general announcements about creative opportunities and events in the Charlottesville community, before asking someone to recite the CreativeMornings manifesto, which perfectly sums up the organization‘s goal to foster community, creativity and expression.
“Everyone is creative,” reads the manifesto. “A creative life takes courage and action, honesty and hard work. We’re here to support you, celebrate with you, and encourage you to do the things you love.
Friday’s speaker was Martinez, whose faith in the divine, both Christian and occult, is reflected in everything she does. She shared how her passion for the pewter flute led her to rediscover her faith and find a new creative voice.
“As my spiritual life began to blossom, so did my art,” Martinez said.
Martinez’s greatest inspiration is the Virgin Mary, who played an important role in helping Martinez find his spirituality and figures prominently in his work. One of Martinez’s last paintings, “Our Lady of Antifascism,” illustrates what the iconic Catholic figure means to her.
“I wanted to show that the Blessed Mother is always on the side of the oppressed and that resistance to fascism is based on a fierce love for all humanity,” Martinez said. “She loves us because she knows that no matter what we or others may say, we deserve that kind of love.”
Martinez’s key advice? Find your passion and run with it. She found her inspiration in the Virgin Mary, but encouraged attendees to grasp anything that intrigued them.
“The passion we feel for people and things is nothing less than instructions from the divine about your destiny, it’s the key to your kismet,” Martinez said. “I’m not going to lie, sometimes it will burn you out, but I promise you this is all part of a much bigger plan.”
There was something heartwarming and exciting about the way Martinez told his personal story. His optimistic outlook on life gave meaning to even its worst aspects. She poignantly explained how each horrific experience made her a wiser person and how the pain she felt unlocked her creative potential.
“I want you to realize that you don’t even have to think about fate or kismet or divine plan or God or anything like that to improve your chances of living a meaningful life,” Martinez said. .
According to Martinez, passion and obsession are key to finding your place in the world and seizing the opportunities that arise.
This sentiment perfectly embodies the ideology behind CreativeMornings. This organization started with a few passionate people coming together to share their ideas, and has grown into a community of creative minds, ready to support each other. Despite its airing, CreativeMornings still feels like the pleasant breakfast conversation it was originally intended to be. Not once during the conference did any attendee seem left out or out of place – you are treated like an old friend whether you are a new attendee or a regular attendee.
Those wishing to get involved in CreativeMornings can register at the Charlottesville newsletter to be informed of upcoming meetings.