You know how girl power is like, totally in right now?
See also: Ghostbusters, Lemonade, equal pay for women (just kidding, right Louisiana House?).
Need a local example?
I submit to you: CoCreative.
Four girls, one organization; starting from nothing to hosting over a dozen successful events, all in one year. BOOM!
Each event boasted live music combined with a showcase of original, local artists as well as ways to contribute to the continued growth of the art community in Shreveport. (See gallery of flyers below!)
Oh, and that valley girl introduction, while factually representative of how I speak at times, was more my ill attempt to bridge the age gap between me and these 4 spunky brewsters, whose ages (ranging from 19-28) are hard to believe when you realize how much they’ve accomplished within a short amount of time and the required mental fortitude to do it.
Of course, all of these women are charmingly well-spoken (not so much valley girl), so scratch that entire introductory rationale. Bad Jaya!
CoCreative has been around for awhile, and to celebrate their first year, they are having a YUUUGE birthday bash at local favorite Bon Temps Coffee Bar this Saturday, May 21st. I managed to corral all four workaholics into a sit-down interview for a brief retrospective of how far they’ve come and what makes them work so well together.
Amidst the coffee (some spiked, some not) and giggles (which increased in direct proportion to caffeine intake), what I discovered was not only a bond of superhero proportions (the Art Avengers?), but a friendship that has thrived thanks to a shared motivation to make Shreveport better – through art and through the nurturing of those who dare to answer the call of creative inspiration.
In addition to Caitlin Lindsey, director; Courtney Wimmert, marketing & assistant director; Megan Walsh, public relations director; and Hannah Kent, artist management, the organization also includes Leigh Rose, music management and Dustin Lush, official event photographer (who also side shoots for Heliopolis!).
But for this discussion – it was ladies only.
Helio: Ladies, what a year! Recap it for me. Did it meet your expectations?
Megan: Yes! We’ve had 15 shows since May 4th, 2015, including two collaborative shows – one at Rhino Coffee and one at Geek Fair. All of the rest of them were events we put together ourselves.
Caitlin: It’s definitely been a whirlwind year.
Helio: You told me the first time I interviewed you back in November (link to my first article on CoCreative) that your goal was to take budding artists who didn’t know where to go and give them a path. Success?
Megan: After our birthday bash this Saturday, we will have worked with 38 artists and 43 musicians.
Megan: It’s been great!
Courtney: I love that our show benefiting the Renzi raised $500 for after school art programs and supplies.
Caitlin: Yes! But our biggest show was actually the one for Earth Day at the Marlene Yu Museum. Last year 50 people attended; this year it was 224.
Helio: That’s a very specific number!
Caitlin: (laughs) It is! I didn’t expect CoCreative to grow so fast. I feel like I need more time to prepare but it just keeps growing anyway. That’s what’s so great about Shreveport, no matter what you do, people show up and have fun and support you.
Courtney: There really is a niche here for music and art. Some people might not expect that, but it’s absolutely true.
Helio: Take me back to your first show. Did you know you would be this successful?
(Jaya wonders if there’s something in her teeth.)
Courtney: Oh my goodness, no! It was an art and music show and zero people showed up. Zero. No one was there but the musicians.
Caitlin: After they said we could play there, the owners of the bar sold it and didn’t tell us. They were RENOVATING. I walked in and said, “Y’all better put these [eyemuffs, children!] ceiling tiles back up!”[At this point I want to make a National Lampoon’s CoCreative Vacation joke, but then I remember these impressive entrepreneurs were in diapers when Chevy Chase was a thing. I move on.]
Megan: Everyone performed! They showed art, they did their thing!
Caitlin: And afterwards, every single one of the artists came up to us and said, “I really dig this vibe. Thank you for having us.”
Courtney: Everyone gave us a positive comment and said, “We’ll be at the next one.”
Helio: It’s clear there was a vacuum that needed to be filled.
Caitlin: That’s why I’m so adamant about pushing CoCreative because there’s so many artists starting out that need it and that can take it further than even what we thought it could be.
Helio: Favorite moment from the past year?
Hannah: Minicine! There were kids dancing, people drawing, musicians playing – it was the best thing ever.
Caitlin: David from Minicine was so receptive and supportive, he was practically giddy after.
Courtney: That’s the first time we looked at each other and said, “Wow. This is really working.”
Helio: You gals seem to have a particularly close covalent-style bond #sciencehumor. What is each of your best traits?
Caitlin: This question should go to Megan. She’s identified all of our spirit animals.
Helio: Excellent! Alright Megan, take it away.
Megan: Caitlin is a red panda, always adorable and really excited. Courtney is a gazelle, she’s graceful and exotic and always has cool hair!
Megan: Hannah is a Corgi, she’s loyal and adorable and wiggles her butt and swims really well and is always happy to see you.
Helio: I’m almost afraid to ask, but…..
Megan: I’m a cat! I can be a fierce ray of light who can also sleep for days on end. I feel like if I were to throw myself off a building, I would land on my feet. I also like chicken and salmon and would poop in a box if I could.
Helio: I feel like we should stop there because that answer was untoppable, but here it is – last question. Where is CoCreative going to be a year from now?
Caitlin: We are on a runaway train. We want more new artists, more musicians, we want people from out of town and to be able to push our people to out of town shows. We actually have a partnership coming up with a show in Alexandria. More of that. And we want to write a children’s book!
Hannah: We want the birthday bash to portray exactly who we are and what we want to do. Music, art, poetry, inspiration and diversity.
Megan: It’s going to be hectic.
Helio: You guys are all business.
Megan: She sends us gifs of pandas.
Courtney: And she sends us frogs on unicycles!
Caitlin: (laughs) We’re a family. And that’s what we want CoCreative to be. A place where artists of any genre can come and feel encouraged and create in a safe space, get their passion out there. Just like one giant family.
The COCREATIVE BIRTHDAY BASH is at 2pm this Saturday, May 21 at Bon Temps Coffee Bar. The celebration will feature live musicians, artists, poets as well as raffles, drink specials, and activities for kids. It is ALL AGES, FREE, and family friendly! Donations are appreciated.