Morning Jolt! Free breakfast series CreativeMornings inspires businesspeople, artists

Blake Howard kicks off a recent CreativeMornings breakfast.

Do you collaborate, think differently, or try to solve problems? If so, CreativeMornings -Atlanta invites you to find inspiration and network with other creatives, such as staff from large corporations, small design firms, the mayor’s office, Atlanta United and more at their free breakfasts held the last Friday of each month.

“We believe Atlanta is a hotbed of creative talent. Our mission is to be the instigator or cheerleader of the creative community – to encourage everyone that our work really matters and that our city benefits when we apply our gifts and skill sets,” said Blake Howard, CreativeMornings – Atlanta host and founder of branding agency Matchstic.

Attendees to the monthly series can grab a cup of coffee from rotating vendors like Refuge or Firelight and breakfast by beloved Atlanta staples like Little Tart Bakery and Revolution Doughnuts. There’s plenty of time to mix and mingle, before the program kicks off with a fun activity on stage like a local musician performance, a spoken word poet, or interactive games. A local creative leader then gives a 20-minute talk based on each month’s theme, followed by a Q&A.

Howard discovered CreativeMornings at a friend’s urging while in Chicago for a design conference in 2010.

Blake Howard

“I was way more inspired by the local event than the five-day mega design conference,” Howard said. “There was a map of the CreativeMornings’ chapters, with cities you’d expect – like London, Paris, New York and Los Angeles. I remember thinking, I want Atlanta to be on that map because Atlanta deserves to be on that map.”

As fate would have it, the CreativeMornings founder was at the same Chicago breakfast and was receptive to Howard’s idea to bring the lecture series to Atlanta.

“A few months later we had our first event,” Howard said. Atlanta became the 10th chapter of CreativeMornings, which now boasts more than 200 chapters worldwide.

Looking over the past eight years – several talks stand out. Howard’s personal favorite was the fourth talk with Ben Chestnut, founder and CEO of MailChimp.

“Five minutes before the talk was about to start, we couldn’t get the audio/video system to work. Our biggest sponsor was about to speak and the CreativeMornings CEO was in attendance. In the final minutes, the mics started working. Ben Chestnut’s talk about starting MailChimp and the insights and learnings of that process ended up being one of the most amazing talks,” Howard said.

Howard’s second favorite, was a talk given by Miya Bailey, a graphic/tattoo artist.
“His talk wasn’t a fancy TED talk. It was a heartfelt authentic story of how art saved his life and has the power to change socio-economic tension and adversity. It was so moving and so transparent you almost wanted to question – are you ok with this being recorded?” Howard recalled.

Another favorite was Greg Mike Mensching speaking to 500 creatives at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in July, and the recent August talk on “justice” by artist and muralist Fabian Williams may end up top of the list, too.

“Williams painted a mural of Colin Kaepernick when Super Bowl LII came to town. Just two to three days before the game the building was knocked down. It sparked the artist community to paint eight more around Atlanta,” Howard said.

Artist Greg Mike Mensching  at the recent CreativeMornings event at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

The upcoming CreativeMornings lineup includes Center for Civic Innovation Founder & Executive Director Rohit Malhotra speaking about “muse” at the Woodruff Arts Center on Sept. 27 and Woodruff Arts Center President & CEO Doug Shipman speaking at the center on the theme of “lost” on Nov. 29.

Curiosity peaked? Tickets are free, but “sell out” minutes after registration opens on at 9 a.m. the Monday before the event. Howard encouraged interested creatives to join the mailing list in advance for details on upcoming speakers and reminders.

“If you’re looking for a place to get inspired or connect with the creative community, then come to a CreativeMornings event. It’s completely free, it’s only an hour and a half of your day and it’s a really great experience,” Howard said.