By Cade Martin

As a kid, I spent many a dinner at a table surrounded by friends of my parents, an eclectic cast of characters — sculptors, writers, painters, creatives. That thread of creative community has remained in our offices, our teams, and our collaborations. But that thread feels thinner in this moment.

So I asked, with the purpose of sharing, and of supporting and caring for this creative community in its current, uncertain reality. I asked what people are doing, how they are feeling, how they are sparking creativity. It feels important to share what we do, when we can’t do all our doing.

Reaching out first to some of the talented people I’ve had the good fortune to profile though the Capitol Communicator portrait series.  It’s my version of a virtual dinner table of sorts. Grab a chair and listen in to my conversation with Anthony Shop, co-founder and chief strategy officer, Social Driver.

Anthony, what, if anything, are you doing differently?

“Not doing” is more like it. Staying put isn’t easy for me – I normally spend a lot of time out and about meeting with clients, colleagues, friends and students. I’m trying to replicate that the best I can by taking calls on long walks or while pacing. We’ve all become accustomed to virtual meetings, and for me those have included virtual cocktail hours, dinner parties and even a Cats movie night with friends. Reaching out to people I haven’t spoken with in a while has been refreshing.

Are you staying creatively active?

While people need to stay physically distanced, social connection is more important than ever. So much about creativity for me comes from interaction with others. I chair the National Digital Roundtable and we have organized several weekly virtual roundtable discussions – not presentations where most people just listen, but small groups to give all participants an opportunity to share questions and ideas with one another. We’ve addressed advocacy when in-person is impossible, digital fundraising trends and disseminating research and policy in the virtual age. These events are feeding my need for connection, and seeing others learn from one another has lifted my spirits. They also give me and the others an opportunity to come up with creative solutions to problems we are all facing. It has been inspiring.

How are you sparking yourself creatively?

Cooking new recipes (by necessity), reading fiction rather than my usual nonfiction, and writing are all keeping me creatively active. I wrote a piece about how Carole Baskin from the hit Tiger King documentary is a marketing genius – I don’t think I would have come up with that before spending weeks at home!

You can see Anthony’s original Capitol Communicator Profile here.  

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