Need Some Inspiration? Visit The Museum of the Creative Process

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April 21 is International Creativity and Innovation Day, which has me reflecting on my own creativity and innovation — the way those things manifested for me in the past and present. It also has me thinking about a trip I took to a special museum dedicated to creativity and the creative process. 

At Times, We Have Felt Distant From Our Creative Selves 

First, a little background. My husband and I met once upon a time and a long long time ago under the dusky, colorful, about-to-be-starry sky that is young artistry. We were at art school and spent hours on end coming up with ideas, working on each other’s projects, or taking hikes in the woods that made us feel creatively alive. Fast-forward to today, and we’ve done what we set out to do: He’s a working filmmaker, I’m a working writer. But our art school selves sometimes feel like distant strangers. 

Now, we are people with small children who are their own creative endeavor but require a great deal of energy. Between that and the work we do during the day to pay the bills, we do less stargazing, literal and inward. Though we are both still artists and we are still engaged in our work, that shared creative passion and the way we used to toil away the day feeding each other’s whims isn’t something we get to indulge in much right now. 

Our Drive for Play and Creativity Never Evaporated 

There’s one day my husband and I shared in particular that reminds me we can always reconnect to our artistic spirit. That day was when we visited the Museum of the Creative Process in Manchester, Vermont. A year or two before our first daughter was born, my husband and I were driving past it when we saw the sign. It caught our attention and — as we could do back then — we decided to go on a whim. 

We Explored the Museum’s Sculpture Garden With Joy 

What we found was the opposite of a stuffy museum with hot lights warming up dry exhibits. Instead, we found ourselves in a giant field. It was a beautiful summer day — a bright blue sky stretched over an expansive grassy green property. Peppered throughout it were sculptures. As it turns out, though we didn’t know it at the time, we were in the museum's sculpture garden. The majority of its exhibits are actually housed nearby at the Wilburton Inn. That day, though, the sculpture garden was more than enough for us. We moved from piece to piece, marveling at it, breathing in the fresh air around us, and sharing the energy of each other’s whims. Eventually we found a piece that was like a mirror ball, and we took our picture in it. We joked that it could be our album cover if we were a band. 

The Trip to the Museum Helped Reignite Our Artistic Spirit  

Whenever I look at that picture, and whenever I drive past the Museum of the Creative Process, I’m reminded not just of that day but of that special energy my husband and I discovered ourselves and each other in — an energy that I know is still somewhere in the crevices of the everyday life we now share. And I know that someday, we’ll have the time and space to return to it — perhaps through an afternoon in the sculpture garden, or perhaps, when we’re empty nesters, we’ll go back to our old ways, gazing up at the dusky sky and thinking about what sparkle might exist in the stars. 

The Bottom Line 

I relish the little moments where I feel that creative spark and I try to embrace, as much as I can, the things that make me feel creatively alive. Lighting a candle on a dark, rainy day; taking a walk in the woods; sitting in a field and gazing up at the endlessness of the sky. For creative people, the world around us gives us inspiration as much as it gets in our way — if we let it. 

Tags: Creativity, Family, Self Care

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Written By

Lauren Harkawik

Lauren Harkawik is an essayist, journalist, and fiction writer in Vermont, where she and her husband are raising their daughters. See Full Bio

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