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 the conversation with Wendy Hagen, President of hagen inc.
Wendy, what, if anything, are you doing differently?
Even though I still have project deadlines to meet, I feel like I have the luxury of taking time to think things through more carefully and strategically: how can clients reinvent themselves and emerge even more relevant and important, post-pandemic?
Reading, reading, reading and getting out of my comfort zone.
I get out and walk with our dog, Rufus, and listen to podcasts (averaging six miles a day).
Zoom happy hours with colleagues and close friends, sharing our experiences, frustrations and inspiration.
Are you staying creatively active?
Not as much as I’d like to. I’m focused on small day-to-day realities (running out of toilet paper) and worried about how our kids are doing in Los Angeles (and whether they found any toilet paper).
I miss seeing challenging theatre that activates my imagination (full disclosure: I’m on the board at Woolly Mammoth Theatre).
I’m stopping to notice things I pass by on my walks – suddenly seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.
How are you sparking yourself creatively?
Podcasts – my faves are Reply All, Fresh Air (especially Terry Gross’ interviews with creative artists and musicians), Dolly Parton’s America, the Daily, and Revisionist History.
I joined a play reading group – we just read Teenage Dick (a retelling of Shakespeare’s Richard III, reimagined as a 16-year-old high school kid with cerebral palsy).
Just finished David Epstein’s book Range (Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World) about how the most successful artists, musicians and inventors are generalists who are more creative and able to make connections that the specialists who have deep knowledge in a single area can’t see.
Trying new ways to make face masks and banana bread (secret recipe: tee shirt sleeves and peanut butter, respectively)