Creative La.'s Wendy Overton on the Value of Creative Dialogue

Jun 28, 2012

Many of us in Baton Rouge may think we're not really the "creative type", but Wendy Overton says we should give ourselves more credit. To foster local ingenuity, she started Creative Louisiana. The monthly meet-up features lectures from homegrown artists and entrepreneurs.

Creative Louisiana just hit its first anniversary. WRKF's Tegan Wendland asked Overton about the results so far.

June's Creative Louisiana will be held at Baton Rouge Gallery, located at 1515 Dalrymple Drive, on June 29, 2012. The event will include a panel discussion, with a panel comprised of prior Creative Louisiana guest speakers. More information here.


Wendy Overton organizes the monthly meetup, Creative Louisiana. (Tegan Wendland/WRKF)

WENDLAND: What kind of results have you seen? Have you seen anyone start their own business? What kind of conversations have you heard at the meetups?

OVERTON: When our attendees come to Creative Louisiana they tend to talk about their creative endeavors, the projects they're working on, the piece of art, the program that they're writing or the piece of music that they're writing. They share that with the other attendees and develop a camaraderie that inspires them to finish what they're doing, to get it out to the world, and to take a fresh perspective on that item or that piece.

WENDLAND: What have you learned about our community from this experience?

OVERTON: I've learned that we have so many more creative people that I think anyone might realize. I think everyone is creative but a lot people have not identified themselves, or have that self-identity of being creative. Creativity is a muscle that just needs to be exercised. We've had one attendee who has come pretty much every month and she told me that she did not identify herself as being creative before she started coming to these meetups and she realized that her creative ideas, her work, her passion, has just as much validity and she just needs to build that and grow that out. So what I've seen in our community is an embracing of creative that, in conjunction with all of these other things that are happening in our community - the BR Walls Initiative and this resurgence of focus within our music collaborative, and these other efforts around Baton Rouge - I believe that Baton Rouge is poised to embrace a cultural identity of creativity that will allow it to come into it's own in the next decade.

WENDLAND: Lastly, what do you think the value is of being a creative thinker and thinking outside the box in today's economy?

OVERTON: The world is changing. The ways that used to work aren't going to be working anymore in the future. What I mean by that is that we went through the industrial revolution and the information revolution, and where we are now is something different - it's a breaking down of the old command and control way of working. I believe that the traditional way of running corporations, it's not going to continue working. There's a concept that software is eating corporations, it's eating the Fortune 500, meaning that technology, software, is transforming what we believe in as traditional business and there's a completely new way of doing business. I see Shutterfly just bought Kodak, which I find amusing and yet immensely eye-opening. I bring that up because as our world is changing, fundamentally, dramatically, at a cellular level, we have to be creative to adapt to it. We have to be nimble and always come up with a fresh way to deal with the problems at hand. Without that creative approach to it we can be very dogmatic and try to adhere to what used to work because we don't have a solution for how things need to work, and how we need to embrace this new world. Creativity is the solution for that. It can help us embrace where we are now and help shape the future.