Creative Sunday Morning

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Demonstrating for the Chinese students how to create a lox and bagel sandwich was once again the ultimate beginning for Creative Sunday Morning. The Indian students told me they don’t eat at 10:30 in the morning, but did. The Middle-Eastern students as always dived right in. The Europeans, of course,  brought wine and truffles and the  French/Morrocan student baked her own baklava. All together there were about 25 Americans of every shade, and the other twenty were Chinese, Lebanese, Kurdish, Dubaian, Iranian, French, Spanish, Belgian, Swedish, Canadian and Indian. And then there were the people I invited who I knew would be great participants in the morning’s events. 


True Globalization happens around a dining table. 

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Globalization has come to mean selling products around the world. But this was real globalization, a young, world population around a few big long dining tables in the backyard. Nothing bridges cultures with more meaning than sharing a meal outside in fresh air and sun. Leaving the confines of a classroom, students create more meaningful relationships and better substance. They share thoughts and learn in a different way. They actually get to know, appreciate and understand one another. Possibility emerges. 

 

Opening up contacts and professional paths.

This is my Advertising and Creativity class in the Masters program at the USC Annenberg School of Communication. Inviting them to my house each semester for Creative Sunday Morning is one of my greatest joys of teaching. This time I also collected Joanna Maska, the former White House Communication staffer and her husband, C.J. (Henry) Jackson, the former Politico Editor, along with Jenn Jeffries, the bank exec and the African American activist in corporate diversity, Adam Weidenbaum, the ad agency super designer, my wonderful friend Patricio Fuentes, who owns a great design firm, and my colleague, Adjunct Professor, Freddy Nager, (who all the students love). The purpose of the mix was to open up both discussion, contacts and professional paths for everyone present. 

 

Their final: The campaign for Los Angeles

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After we ate, people pitched in to take down the tables and set up a forum circle on the deck. The final project arc I have thrown at the students in the last few weeks is to develop a campaign for the city of Los Angeles, creating or choosing anything about LA they want to sell or promote. At the beginning of the semester, the students were divided into creative teams, trained through a weekly, dynamic and diversified creative workshop, learned skills and were further challenged to develop business acumen.

 

Is the city of Los Angeles a concept? 

During the Creative Forum part of the day, Joanna Maska and I facilitated a discussion of Los Angeles, to help them with the thinking of their final project. My first question to them was, “You are learning how to develop concepts and ideas. What are the concepts and ideas that underpin Los Angeles?” That generated a discussion of creativity, diversity, possibility and dreams. Joanna had them tell LA stories. I then asked, “If Los Angeles came in a package, what would the package look like?” One of the students immediately answered, “A Bento Box with sections.” 

 

Can Creative Sunday Morning present The Red Table? 

The students and everyone attending asked when I would be doing this again. I think often. The concept I’m mulling over is Creative Sunday Morning presents the Red Table, and the forum is always a Red Table event with performance art, discussion and idea creation. Very L.A. Let me know if you want to come. 

Gary Wexler