Creatives of Color Convene

Natural Leadership

“If we all combined our talent and our resources, we’d find that there are over a thousand of us in the Twin Cities. We can make our ideas happen sooner than we think, combining our interests with the folks who are already doing similar work.”

That was the driver for Keno Evol, Executive Director of Black Table Arts, and Melanie Walby, Design Director of Pollen Midwest, to host the first “The Meetup MN” (#TheMeetupMN). 

According to Walby, “We started this because about once a month, we hear from a black/brown creative in the Twin Cities who wants to start something; a lecture series, a co-working space, an agency, or an organization. Each idea has a common theme of creating space for black and brown creatives.”

Their idea was just to create an opportunity for a few creatives of color in the Twin Cities to connect; however, a few quickly turned into a few dozen, and last week some 50 or 60 people convened in Ken Fireberg’s photo studio in Minneapolis. These creatives included designers, film makers, photographers, marketing people, web developers, students, spoken word artists, painters, cartoonists, product designers, engineers, musicians and more.  

They came to simply hear each other’s hopes and dreams, plans and ideas. People made connections, discussed potential collaborations and what they’d like to see happen. They asked for help with projects and offered help for others. They shared upcoming events as well as all the organizations and initiatives that the group should try to support.  

This is what leadership is all about — seeing a need, creating an opportunity, and making “our ideas happen sooner than we think.”

MCAD and the Master of Arts in Sustainable Design program, represented by Holly Robbins of ThisIsFolly,helped sponsor the event along with @BlackbirdRevolt and @KenFribergPhoto, who offered their studio space.

Holly Robbins

Holly Robbins is a partner and creative director of This Is Folly, a design studio in Minneapolis. Previously, Robbins has spent eight years as creative manager/director at Target Corporation, worked at various advertising agencies and design firms, co-founded the design partnership Studio Flux, and did a tour of duty at Greenpeace.

No matter where she works, Robbins always strives to advance the cause of ecologically-sustainable design, partnering with such organizations as the AIGA/MN, GreenBlue’s Sustainable Packaging Coalition, and MCAD to develop design guidelines and award criteria and to advance professional sustainable design education and responsibility.

Robbins’s design work and the work of This Is Folly has appeared in books, publications and exhibits, including PRINT, HOW, the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, American Corporate Identity, Creativity Annual, and local and national AIGA competitions.

She served as a judge for the AIGA 2013 national (re)Design show and the AIGA/MN 2012 Green Leaf Award. Her speaking and judging engagements have included AdFed, AIGA/MN, FUSE, AAF, and SECCA, as part of the Walker Art Center’s touring international exhibit Graphic Design: Now in Production. The work of her studio, This Is Folly, also appears in the Introduction To Graphic Design: A Guide to Thinking, Process, and Style by Aaris Sherin. Holly is based in Minnesota.