I was recently invited to a soiree with the Emerging Arts Professional Network (EAP.) EAP Connects is an event that operates in partnership with our neighbours, the Centre for Social Innovation. They provide positive space for networking, creativity and social interaction between members of the Toronto art scene and their community partners. This was an exciting event for me because it provided an opportunity to exchange ideas and interact with top designers and creative minds outside the office.
Each EAP Connects event has a unique theme to attract new people and a broader audience: this event featured interactive art installations as well as “a special focus on creative business, innovations and out of the box thinking.” We really enjoyed the chance to talk shop with other creative professionals. This was an especially valuable event because we had a chance to learn about some of the new innovations in the world of design, and how we might be able to implement them in our own work. Even ideas that don’t quite fit with our business get us thinking in new directions, or discovering creative ways to change our working processes.
The woman behind the event is Ella Cooper, an artist and community manager who decided to fill a gap in the networking world, and decided to create the collective with the support of the Ontario Arts Council. Establishing open communication is her main goal and she encourages partygoers to ignore their friends, play icebreakers and actually meet everyone in the room. This mentality encourages collaborative connections that may not happen otherwise. This, along with complementary delectables and spirits made for awesome energy in the room.
Some highlights of the evening included special guest Laraaji—an New York electronic musician, mystic and “laughter yoga instructor”—who played the zither and also led a live laughter demo and talk on the medically documented health benefits of channeled chuckling. He cited free association as his method of creativity, and stressed the importance of play in both personal and professional life. He added that “play is the spontaneous exploration of sensation,” something to remember when struggling with inspiration in the future. Local artist Rachel Ellison also invited attendees to create art together by painting a communal canvas called “We Paint” for 90 seconds each.