Wisdom From Your Five-Year-Old: Incorporate the Idea of "Play" Into Your Event

I recently asked Kelly Wainwright what inspires and motivates her creative process. Kelly is the founder and creative genius behind Messy Monkey Arts, a creative agency that hosts team-building events based on the arts and tapping into your creativity. She was trained as an architect-turned-painter, and has since stepped out of the box to create large-scale conceptual art projects, creative team-building events and more.

Here are Kelly’s top three reasons to incorporate art and play into your event:

Empowerment: Discovering one’s own creative genius

Messy Monkey Arts incorporates paint and play into team-building activities, such as this Paint-Off.

A professor asks his students, “How many of you can sing?” Two people raise their hands.

He then asks, “Imagine you’re five. How many of you can sing?” Everyone raises their hands.

Getting into a playful space leads us to experiment in ways we may not otherwise. We often surprise ourselves by our own untapped creativity lying just beneath the surface.

Gently nudging people to experiment in a fun and comfortable space allows them to begin to see their own creativity reflect back at them. This often happens more quickly than you might think.

Reawakening: Remembering the excitement to thrive, live, and participate on the planet

The “hum-drum” of the daily routine can get us so immersed in health insurance, deadlines, and 401ks that we forget about our own creative flavor.

The Bed Jump project encouraged people throughout Cape Town, South Africa to release their inner child. Kelly Wainwright: conceptualist, Inge Prins: photographer

I had the great pleasure of participating in Cape Town’s Infecting the City festival with my “Bed Jump” project. I took my classic queen-sized bed to different street corners and asked all passersby to jump! Jump for joy, jump for the hell of it, and jump because you can!

It’s such a simple, globally understood gesture. Many folk were keen to participate, from Rasta men to business ladies.

My project shares the sentiment that you can tap into this joy and spontaneity, leading to more creative overflow, no matter who or where you are. It’s in our blood.

Transformation: Transitioning into a space where one feels safe to explore and discover

It is important to create the right space to begin to delve into a creative process. This transitions us from the “outside world” and out again with a fresh perspective.

Sara, aka BriteChicago, preps for a recent Paint Off with Messy Monkey Arts.

Interacting with art and play is powerful work. It must be done with great care so as not to blast those participating into shock, with no lasting value.

Getting from a sterile place to one where people feel safe enough to start throwing out ideas and taking risks is the beginning of transformation. From dead to alive. From tasteless to juicy.

I see this movement as similar to that of a climatic release in a dance or the birth of a baby.

Art and play are natural platforms for this kind of transformation to take place.

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