35 Events to Host at a Coworking Space

Every day, we are bombarded with ads, social media, emails, and texts from companies clamoring for our attention. It’s easy to get lost in the digital world. With this knowledge, it’s more important than ever to set your company or organization apart by offering a human aspect to your marketing.

According to Tracee Sioux in The Future of Marketing: 47 Experts Share Their 2017 Predictions, “What people are craving is in-person interaction. We’re ad blind on the Internet and socially starved for real human interaction. The best marketing is to host in-person events, classes, and sales opportunities.”

Here is a list we’ve compiled of ideas for in-person events you can have in a shared space like Creative Coworking.

  1. Have a Cocktail Party (Our bimonthly Art & Wine Night is a good example!)
  2. Have a Bridal/Baby Shower
  3. Have a Press Conference or Ribbon Cutting
  4. Offer a Class
  5. Have a Book Signing
  6. Showcase Your Art
  7. Have a Listening Party
  8. Have a Comedy/Improv Show
  9. Have a Product/Service/Business Launch Party
  10. Host a Film Screening
  11. Have a pop-up sales event
  12. Have a fundraiser
  13. Host a Meetup
  14. Host a Community Panel Discussion
  15. Offer Brown Bag Lunch Sessions
  16. Have a Workshop
  17. Offer Yoga Classes
  18. Do Demo Days
  19. Have a Continental Breakfast Talk
  20. Have an Investor Showcase
  21. Have a Game/Gamer Night
  22. Host Tech Talks
  23. Run a Hack-a-thon
  24. Have Entrepreneur Talks
  25. Offer Pitch Practice
  26. Have V.I.P. Events
  27. Host a Spa Day
  28. Offer Speed Dating/Networking
  29. Do a Silent Auction
  30. Have a Holiday Party
  31. Do an Interview
  32. Have a Poetry/Story Slam
  33. Do a Q&A
  34. Do a Seminar
  35. Offer Training Sessions

Did these ideas get you thinking about an event you might want to host? Please reach out to us via intern@creativecoworking.com to make it happen.

Network Your Way to the Top

How many times have you heard the phrase “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”?
 
Now, I could go into how what you know is just as important; but the truth is, who you know can be far more powerful. The “what” can always be taught, but the “who” can propel you to the front of the line.
Throughout history there have been thousands of men and women who have been in the top 1% club. And, honestly, there seems to be a lot of mystery surrounding how they were able to achieve this level of success. What’s more is that some of these men and women didn’t even have a high school education: Henry Ford, Debbi Fields, Coco Chanel, Andrew Carnegie, and so many more. 

These giants of commerce knew something the masses did not:
 Your network determines your net worth.
 
If you read any of their stories, which I recommend you do, you’ll discover that their luck changed when they were introduced to the “right” people. So, if you want the same advantages of the top 1% you need to meet more people! And, not just any people—you need to make an effort to meet people who are where you want to be and know what you want to know. 

In 2017, focus on increasing the size of your network.
 Here are a few suggestions:
  • Attend Events, Seminars, Conferences, Business Lunches, etc.
  • Get a Coach or Mentor
  • Join online and in person memberships and groups
And of course, one of the most inexpensive ways to build your network is through coworking spaces. While sharing a workplace and equipment, you also have opportunities to share ideas, knowledge, and personal connections.
 
The great Jim Rohn once said, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
 
It’s your time to put yourself out there, invest in your dreams, and step up to the next level. Never underestimate the benefits your network can provide.
 
Here at Creative Coworking, your success is extremely important to us. Check out our memberships and start getting those 1% benefits today. 


—Jerusalem Singleton, Creative Coworking intern

Artist Interview: Betty Butler

Upon visiting Creative Coworking, people are often struck by our impressive collection of local art. Surrealist dreamscapes, whimsical collages, hyper-realistic portraits, and more have all found a temporary home here, making our office space a key player in the Evanston art scene. In this blog feature, we highlight artists whose work is currently on display. Today’s featured artist is Betty Butler.

What sparked your initial interest in creating art?

 I have been drawing and making things since I was young child. Luckily, I had parents that encouraged my creativity.

How would you describe your style?

For each art print, I blend my own painting and photography into a digital collage. In my current series, an imaginary beach is populated by starfish, sand dollars, sea urchins and seashells. In this invented world, vivid color drawn from my acrylic painting, resembling the northern lights, flows across these sea creatures.

Starfish Portrait
Starfish Portrait

Who are your influences?

Early in my college art education, I attended a large exhibit of the paper cut-out collages of French artist Henri Matisse. I was struck by the bright color, movement, and fanciful composition of his dancers, leaves, and sea creatures. I also very much appreciate the close-up, stylized interpretations of nature by painter Georgia O’Keeffe.

What are your opinions on the Evanston/Chicago art community? How do you see your work in relation to this community?

The Evanston/Chicago art community is vibrant and varied. Additionally, I experience the Evanston art community in particular as friendly and welcoming of local talent. I am honored to be part of this community and to be exhibiting at Creative Coworking.

Is there a particular piece of yours that is currently on display that you feel really represents your style/means something personal to you?

Digital collage of painting and photography
Blue Beach

Blue Beach is representative of my current work in that it contains round organic shapes and patterns, and is created by multiple starfish and areas of dramatic color.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions/plans/projects?

I would love to exhibit in a traditional or alternative health care center. Viewers have observed that my work has a calming and meditative quality.

How did you discover Creative Coworking as a venue for displaying your work?

Creative Coworking artist Sarah Kaiser referred me to Angela. I’m so glad she did!

Are there particular motifs/themes/symbols that you are fond of using in your work?

I am drawn to curvilinear forms found in nature. These can be seashells, waves, botanical forms, or clouds. I often add a patterning motif to create movement and visual excitement.

How do you see your art evolving in the next few years?

I hope to continue creating digital collage art prints, blending scanned painting and photography of natural forms.

 

 

Artist Interview: Darren Oberto

Upon visiting Creative Coworking, people are often struck by our impressive collection of local art. Surrealist dreamscapes, whimsical collages, hyper-realistic portraits, and more have all found a temporary home here, making our office space a key player in the Evanston art scene. In this blog feature, we highlight artists whose work is currently on display. Today’s featured artist is Darren Oberto.

What sparked your initial interest in creating art?

My interest in creating art is deeply rooted in my childhood. My father studied art and worked a fruitful career as a sculptor for Ford Motor Company in the design department. My family has always encouraged my creativity. The public school system, when I was growing up, was much more supportive of the arts than current standards allow. I found much encouragement there, as well as an early introduction to art history.

How would you describe your style?

I would characterize my work as being eclectic. I am constantly alternating between several bodies of work. Each series is very distinct from the others. I often joke with people that I have multiple personalities; fortunately they are all artists.

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Who are your influences?

If I were to choose one name that influenced the series that I am exhibiting at Creative Coworking, it would be Todd Hido. I feel his photography, particularly his houses and landscapes, are very painterly, emotionally colored, and sometimes voyeuristic. His work has a distance from the subject that I feel has similarities to my work.

What are your opinions on the Evanston/Chicago arts community? How do you see your work in relation to this community?

I think that Evanston’s art community is truly beginning to blossom. There has been more activity in the last couple of years than I had previously experienced in the fifteen that I’ve been here. The new Evanston Art Center, Evanston Made, Artruck, and new galleries such as Sidetracked Studio, Space 900, The Saw Room, and others, have all been a breath of fresh air for the local art community. Chicago as a whole, I think, has world class arts institutions, artists, and a character distinct from other places. I think that there is incredible room for growth in the greater Chicago arts community. Perhaps one day people will not be concerned with being overshadowed by New York/ LA, but rather flourish here in a proud Chicago style.

Is there a particular piece of yours that is currently on display that you feel really represents your style/means something personal to you?

As I mentioned before, I am a bit of a chameleon and have many styles. Circular formats and dark subtle light color schemes do find their way into many of my bodies of work. There is a strong connection between these photos and my “House” series. You can make comparisons by viewing my website.

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Do you have any upcoming exhibitions/plans/projects?

I am currently exhibiting my kinetic drawing series (“Turntable Drawings”) at The Saw Room at the Alley Gallery, in Downtown Evanston through the end of July. I also have a piece at the Masur Museum in Monroe, LA, for their 53rd juried competition, as well as a couple of pieces in the latest issue of Studio Visit, a juried competition publication.

 

How did you discover Creative Coworking as a venue for displaying your work?

I discovered the opportunity while attending a artist mixer through the Evanston Arts Council (Art After Hours) where I had an enjoyable conversation with Angela Valavanis, the founder of Creative Coworking.

Are there particular motifs/themes/symbols that you are fond of using in your work?

I have several motifs/themes/symbols that appear in my work. In one series, I use Fighting Cocks and decadent gold leaf as a metaphor for avarice. I have a series of kinetic drawings that, by virtue of the machine that assists me, are circular. The porthole photos that I’m exhibiting here are also circular as a result of the series of lenses that I use to capture the images. I have a body of paintings that capture suburban houses in peculiar light and ominous tension. Themes of consumerism and voyeurism often creep into bodies of work. I am always looking for new ways to make connections between my work and the world around me. I’m sure that, as I develop, my work will morph into new motifs and themes.

How do you see your art evolving in the next few years?

I feel that many of my projects are reaching a state of maturation that is leading toward a cohesion of several ideas. I am looking forward to nurturing these projects and evolving these ideas.

Home Base for CRAVE Chicago

One aspect of Creative Coworking’s reputation as a community-building entity and supporter of startups is its close relationship with the Seattle-based CRAVE Company. Not only does CC provide a space for CRAVE’s monthly networking events for women in business, but CC founder Angela Valavanis is the director for CRAVE Chicago.

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For those of you who have yet to attend a CRAVE event, some background: CRAVE is a international organization dedicated to providing networking opportunities for women in business and disseminating valuable information and career guidance through seminars, presentations, and discussions. We have host monthly CRAVE events here at CC with topics ranging from business advancement to money management to environmental awareness. Experts in a variety of  fields have been brought in to speak, from non-profit expert Denise Dahl (a CC member) to local jewelry entrepreneur Laura Tanner Swinand, and the dialogues sparked by each month’s subject are consistently illuminating and informative.

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Ann Baker presents on a women’s health topic

Creative Coworking, as the name implies, believes strongly in communal values; and CRAVE, under Angela’s ongoing leadership, is an excellent catalyst for bringing people together and fostering a spirit of unity. Countless women have advance their careers through the positive connections made at the monthly CRAVEfuel networking events here at CC.

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Photographer Annette Patko of Bordeaux Studio joins Angela Valavanis to discuss doing work that you love.

This month, CRAVE will meet on Monday, 6/27, at 7PM, and CC member Victoria Reeves will speak on the topic of personal branding. If you are interested in fostering connections with like-minded peers, learning more about specific aspects of business, or are simply craving something unique and informative to do, then we highly encourage you to stop by and become a part of the proud and vibrant CRAVE community. [Sorry, guys, this one is Ladies Only.]

Artist Interview: Kristen Neveu

Upon visiting Creative Coworking, people are often struck by our impressive collection of local art. Surrealist dreamscapes, whimsical collages, hyper-realistic portraits, and more have all found a temporary home here, making our office space a key player in the Evanston art scene. In this blog feature, we highlight artists whose work is currently on display. Today’s featured artist is Kristen Neveu.

What sparked your initial interest in creating art?

I began creating artwork after I graduated from college. I was working at Getty Images/Tony Stone Images as a photo researcher. (I majored in Communications in college with a minor in Anthropology.) I needed a creative outlet in the evenings. I started by painting salvaged wood that I picked up in the alleys near my apartment in Chicago.

How would you describe your style?

In my work there are upward patterns of growth and movement that are rooted in the past but examine what may happen in the future. I create layered collages that have a lot of texture and tell a story. I’m an artist and cultural anthropologist.

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What are your opinions on the Evanston/Chicago arts community? How do you see your work in relation to this community?

I love that the Evanston art community has the Evanston Made event (formerly called Open Studios Evanston). It’s very welcoming. Chicago is the same way. I’m friends with a lot of artists in the area, and I’m thankful for that. My work is appreciated by them and there’s dialogue of supporting each other.

Is there a particular piece of yours that is currently on display that you feel really represents your style/means something personal to you?

I’ve been photographing ceramic figurines that were my mother’s, which she passed down to me when I was a kid. They are featured in a few pieces – “Roseland,” “Bluebell,” “Dreamwood.”

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Do you have any upcoming exhibitions/plans/projects?

Creative Coworking’s Art & Wine Night on July 16, Ravenswood Art Walk in the fall, Evanston Public Library in March 2017. I’m currently working on a few commissions as well.

How did you discover Creative Coworking as a venue for displaying your work?

I work at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and several of my colleagues there referred me to Angela, who is great!

Are there particular motifs/themes/symbols that you are fond of using in your work?  

In my collages, I have a recurring theme of classic cars, blooming flowers, TV sets, clocks, watches, rings, and ceramic figurines. To me, these are symbols of fleeting time, but they also endure. I tend to use a lot of my own photos of these items mixed with images from product manuals from the 1950s and 1960s.

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How do you see your art evolving in the next few years?

I see myself using more of my own photography in my collages to recycle images. Recently I’ve been purchasing more ceramic figures at thrift stores and garage sales to photograph and use in my work. In addition, I’ve also lately been printing out photos of my collages and cutting them up and then reusing them in new work. I’m really into recreating new patterns out of things from the past.

Literary Events at Creative Coworking

One of our missions here at Creative Coworking is to provide a space where art and culture can thrive in Evanston. We already have a long-standing tradition of promoting the visual arts through our bimonthly Art & Wine Night, but more recently we have begun to establish ourselves as a central hub for literary events as well. We have served as the proud host for several wonderful literary events, ranging from readings to interview panels to receptions for literary festivals.

Author readings are one of the most fundamental forms of the literary gathering, and this year we were lucky enough to attract several authors to our space. In March we served as the venue for the launch of Jerusalem Singleton’s latest effort, The Little Black Book of Fill-in-the-Blank Wedding Speeches, and in April we hosted readings and career discussions for three novelists—Patricia Skalka, Lynn Sloan, and Joyce Burns Zeiss—as part of the Evanston Literary Festival. General festivities and informational events are also a core aspect of the literary scene, and we have been host to several, including “An Irish Evening of Poetry & Song” in conjunction with Literature for All of Us, and the Evanston Literary Festival’s closing reception.

Some of our members are professional writers, and they have been a great help in attracting and organizing events for our space. Member Deborah Siegel, for example, is a co-founder of She Writes Press, an online resource and community for women writers, and she has been instrumental in helping establish us as a center for literary gatherings. On June 6th She Writes Press will be hosting an event in our space where authors Michelle Cox and Sheila Grinell will participate in a moderated discussion and read from their latest works.

We hope very much to continue serving as a venue for literary events in the future. It’s been a phenomenal experience getting to host talented people and help them promote their work, and in turn, they’ve helped us make our space even more CREATIVE! Please tune in to our website and Facebook page to see what exciting happenings we have in store. If you’re not on our email list for our monthly newsletter and would like to be, please email intern@creativecoworking.com.

 

Artist Interview: Vanessa Filley

Upon visiting Creative Coworking, people are often struck by our impressive collection of local art. Surrealist dreamscapes, whimsical collages, hyper-realistic portraits, and more have all found a temporary home here, making our office space a key player in the Evanston art scene. In this blog feature, we highlight artists whose work is currently on display. Today’s featured artist is Vanessa Filley.

What sparked your initial interest in creating art?

I’ve always been a maker. From the time I was a child I made doll clothes and curtains and clothing for myself. I wrote poems and danced. In college I was wrapped up in politics and activism, but six years into a career investigating human rights violations in prisons and jails, I had a deep need to make and do something physically tangible, something I could touch. I began a company making clothing out of recycled fabrics which after a few years evolved into a need to move beyond production into a focus on art with detail. About seven years ago I shifted my practice into one that was more strictly art making. I’ve fallen in love with many mediums from drawing to watercolors to encaustics to crochet, embroidery and photography. As a project arises I often need to acquire new skills to actualize that project. So I am constantly evolving as an artist/maker.

How would you describe your style?

I’ve been called so many different things by different people, I’m not quite sure what the most apt description would be. My style is sometimes dreamy, sometimes feminine, sometimes crafty. I’m deeply drawn to color and texture and story. As artists we have so many different voices; and, for me, each medium brings a slightly different intonation of voice. I think there is some common thread in my work, but most of that is derived from color and texture.

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Who are your influences?

My grandmother is a tremendous influence on me. From her award winning botanical skills to her beautiful needlepoints and documentary films. Similarly I am inspired by many different schools of making: from Dutch Masters painters to the Gees’s Bend quilters. My current love of photography has me inspired by both historical and contemporary photographers from Alfred Stieglitz, Francesca Woodman, and Sally Mann to Oleg Oprisco, Heather Evans Smith, and Robert and Shana Parke-Harrison.

What are your opinions on the Evanston/Chicago arts community? How do you see your work in relation to this community?

For years I have created work in a vacuum, sharing work primarily with friends and family; but over the course of the past year, I have begun showing and sharing my work more publicly. There are so many different facets to the Evanston/Chicago arts community. Some have been particularly welcoming and supportive and encouraging while others have been less so. I am part of a collective of women artists that meets regularly to critique one another’s work, discuss practices and goals, successes and failures, as well as showing work together. I have really enjoyed getting to know other artists in Evanston and am deeply inspired by their work and practices.

I love that we live in an arts rich community of people who are sharing work and creating opportunities to see work. Over the past couple of years it seems that more artists are creating independent spaces to share work around Evanston. I do my best to attend openings and support the work of fellow artists, as we are all in this together.  

Is there a particular piece of yours that is currently on display that you feel really represents your style/means something personal to you?

“Country Bunny,” which was made in the future home of Creative Coworking in Edgewater, feels like a representative piece. It is an homage to a particular children’s book I loved as a girl, Country Bunny by DuBose Heyward, in both the sense of story and color palette. We were able to make this image in a beautiful, albeit decaying, space rich with story that is soon to be given new life. In the making of this piece I was able to be deeply alive as an artist, making the dress that the small girl is wearing, dying the eggs, and gathering the various props, arranging them all, waiting for the light to be perfect, directing everybody involved. It was a perfect storm of story and light and color.

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions/plans/projects?

I will be participating in Evanston Made during the month of June and showing work around town at places like the Evanston Art Center, Dragonfly, Artruck, Mill Creek Miniatures and opening my studio during the Evanston Art Walk on June 4th. I have a show at Morpho Gallery in Andersonville in November.

I have several ongoing projects and a large tomb of plans I hope to actualize someday. For the time being, I am focusing on continuing to make photography in the vein of the images in my Elements of Mystery Series.

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How did you discover Creative Coworking as a venue for displaying your work?

A friend of mine was facilitating one of Creative Coworking’s monthly CRAVE meetings, where we discussed our goals and intentions for 2016. I mentioned my goal of showing and sharing more work and voila.

Are there particular motifs/themes/symbols that you are fond of using in your work?  

I love things with a story or a past. I like to convey a sense of timelessness in my work: a dream, a fairy tale.

When my older daughter was born, a dear friend gifted her a collection of tales from the Brother’s Grimm. I remember sitting down in a rocker with my newborn daughter and reading about needle pricks, abandonment, vindictive parents and silent young girls being scooped up by so-called princely men. Each story more disturbing than the next. There is something about both the darkness and the light of fairytale—the extremes and the possibilities—that appeal to me.

We each have a story, and celebrating this is invaluable. So, too, is living inside a story that is not your own, trying on a different reality for size. I am thematically influenced by both literature and current events; there are so many stories I want to try on for size, moments I want to create.

How do you see your art evolving in the next few years?

This is not a path I can predict. I follow the muse wherever it takes me. I suspect a common thread from the work I have created in the past will continue, but I don’t know which thread that will be. For the immediate future, I plan to continue my focus on photography and hope to hone my skills on a technical level to help me better portray the emotional and aesthetic content of the work.

Vanessa Filley is one of two featured artists at the May Art & Wine Night at Creative Coworking.

Coworking: Working Together to Thrive

A recent study cited in a Harvard Business Review article found that coworkers—professionals working out of a coworking space—reported on average levels of thriving close to 6 on a 7-point scale. Thriving is “shaped by the context in which individuals are embedded,” and is closely linked to positive effect, negatively correlated with burnout, and correlated with increased job productivity. As job satisfaction steadily declines and employees continually struggle with work-life balance, what is the magic of coworking that allows coworkers to thrive—to feel energized and motivated to learn?

Coworking spaces are defined as membership-based workspaces in which a diverse group of professionals, entrepreneurs, freelancers, and remote workers work together in a collaborative environment. A natural extension of the sharing economy, coworking spaces provide an alternative to the home office, the coffee shop, and even the corporate office. Coworkers, varying widely in profession, industry, and function, are united both in their passion for their work and by the synergistic coworking culture.

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Open spaces allow coworkers to easily choose and change their work environment. | Creative Coworking, Evanston

It is no surprise that people who work in coworking spaces are thriving. 

Following a survey of several hundred coworking members across the United States, the researchers found three substantial predictors of thriving:

1. Coworkers see their work as meaningful.

Many of the coworkers who were interviewed said that they find meaning in being able to bring their whole selves to work. Community members are engaged in different projects, working for different companies, and invested in different ventures, so there is little direct competition, and coworkers don’t feel like they need to “fit in.” In fact, working among people who do different work than one’s own creates a stronger identification with one’s own work.

2. Coworkers have more job control.

Coworking spaces often have extended hours, allowing coworkers to choose when they want to work. Some may choose to start the day later and work through the night, while others may leave work for a few hours to hit the gym. While coworkers have significantly more flexibility and autonomy than those in corporate office settings, they also have some sense of structure through the coworking community, which can help keep them accountable and motivated.

3. Coworkers are part of a community.

Bring dozens of people with extremely varied skill sets together, and collaboration is almost inevitable, helping to create an authentic community. Furthermore, the structure of most coworking spaces is inherently geared toward community-building without forcing socialization. With spaces for quiet work, meetings, and socialization, coworkers can move fluidly from intensely concentrated work to more social networking and relationship building.

As the workforce shifts to increasingly value both community and productivity, coworking spaces—and coworkers—will undoubtedly continue to thrive.

Stephanie Chang, Intern

Artist Interview: Amy O. Woodbury

Upon visiting Creative Coworking, people are often struck by our impressive collection of local art. Surrealist dreamscapes, whimsical collages, hyper-realistic portraits, and more have all found a temporary home here, making our office space a key player in the Evanston art scene. In this blog feature, we highlight artists whose work is currently on display. Today’s featured artist is Amy O. Woodbury.

What sparked your initial interest in creating art?

I was a choreographer before I was a visual artist, so the answer is movement, the kinesthetic shifting of texture.

How would you describe your style?

All over the map, with color, texture and movement being my guides.

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Palomino

Who are your influences?

Although I was in her class for only two years, I would have to say my teacher Florence Singer. In terms of my portraiture work, it would be the heavy hitters – Matisse, Picasso, Van Gogh.

What are your opinions on the Evanston/Chicago art community? How do you see your work in relation to this community?

Evanston and Chicago are thriving visual art towns: so many people are making art as well as buying it. I feel an integral part of this scene.

Is there a particular piece of yours that is currently on display that you feel really represents your style/means something personal to you?

“Crust”, an early landscape/horizon piece.

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Crust

Do you have any upcoming exhibitions/plans/projects?

I’m in Southern Utah at the moment. And that’s a project because the landscape is such a treasure trove. Wonderfully weird stuff has come from this place, including “Spinning All About Were Tales,” which is also in the show.

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Spinning All About Were Tales

How did you discover Creative Coworking as a venue for displaying your work?

Through various online announcements. And Angela is a neighbor; I met her at my annual front yard art sale several years ago.

Are there particular motifs/themes/symbols that you are fond of using in your work?

Crescent moons, my mother’s profile, animals, vistas.

How do you see your art evolving in the next few years?

That’s a good question.