On a Tuesday evening, May 29th, Summit residents, artists, community leaders and business leaders came together for a Creative Summit Gathering at the United Methodist Church in Summit. The topic – connecting culture with community. It was all about how we can support each other to create a place where all creative ideas, all artists, and all people are welcome to create, collaborate and connect.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world.” – Margaret Mead.

The discussion started with a presentation by Meg Fallin Dietrich, a trustee with the Summit Area Public Foundation on the topic of supporting the creative community. Dietrich shared background on the power of the arts for setting the stage for medical, communication and social purposes. She encouraged the group to support each other to elevate each other, and shared some of the resources available to Summit organizations.

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Next up was a presentation by John McEwen, Executive Director of the NJ Theatre Alliance. McEwen presented on the topic of relationship in cultural arts and community, highlighting collaborative opportunities that abound when citizens get together to shape their ideas. Sharing examples of towns across the state of New Jersey who have successfully launched creative initiatives, McEwen encouraged attendees to collaborate and work together as citizens, furthering the message that we can enrich and strengthen our ideas through the “spirit of collaboration…working together and understanding as a united front”. McEwen stated that “All people are inherently creative”…”you don’t have to be an artist to be creative.” He further shared that the emerging activities of the group should focus on people and diversification to all sectors of the community, thinking of the arts as a business.

The arts are for everyone. The arts build healthy communities by impacting economics, improving property values, creating jobs and supporting local business, building community pride, celebrating culture and diversity, and bringing people from all backgrounds together.

Moderator, Laura Ekstrand from Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre shared tips on her vision towards a path of success for this new group of engaged citizens, and representatives from community organizations, and independent artists, shared ideas and visions for the future of our creative community in Summit. The discussion rounded out with an inspired and motivated group that is ready to unify to support each other and the community.

The next Creative Summit Gathering will be Tuesday, July 10th at the Oakes Center at 120 Morris Ave in Summit. All are invited and encouraged to attend these lively discussions, and Creative Summit encourages a culture of support and sharing, as we are all stakeholders in raising up our creative community.

Reach out to Creative Summit by emailing SummitArts2014@gmail.com.