Spotlight on Deer Bear Wolf
Spotlighting creative organizations building community in cities across the country.
Deer Bear Wolf is an Atlanta-based organization that showcases and supports all breeds of creatives. From variety shows to record releases to reading series, Deer Bear Wolf celebrates and connects a diverse cross section of artists, musicians, authors, everything in between and at the fringes. Relationships are amongst our most valuable creative resources-- find out how co-founder Elizabeth Jarrett and the rest of the Deer Bear Wolf team are inspiring and cultivating the creative community in Atlanta.
How and why did Deer Bear Wolf start?
Deer Bear Wolf started as a print magazine and online store that showcased exclusively Atlanta creatives. We were hearing pretty regularly from artists and audience alike that they felt there weren't a lot of cross-genre platforms to share and promote their work, so the magazine married visual art, literature, and music. We were interested in bridging the gaps between different mediums in order to allow people an opportunity to collaborate or come into contact with an artist or style they weren't familiar with. Eventually, we began producing content, starting with the variety show, which then catapulted what we were doing in print form into experiences.
What is your definition of creativity?
I think creativity is a muscle that must be trained and exercised. It enables us to generate new and fantastical ideas, or re-develop old ones, and implement them through deliberate practice. Creativity comes in many forms, and is certainly not exclusive to artists. Without creativity, civilization as we know it wouldn't exist. This is why it is important to preserve the imagination of children-- creativity and imagination are made of the same stuff.
With the rise of the creative class, there is a growing expectation for us to create “on demand,” which can be a struggle. What advice do you have for content creators to stay inspired and productive?
This can be really tough, especially if you make your living through your creative practice. I think the best way to stay inspired and productive is to surround yourself with people who inspire you. Having people near who you can potentially collaborate with, or even just bounce ideas off of, is important for your personal work and fosters community. Additionally, helping someone out with their own craft, or taking on an odd job that is a little out of your wheel house is an opportunity to learn a new skill or method. A few other things that help me are working in a stimulating space that energizes me, and allowing myself time to recharge. This is particularly important if you freelance. We often have to remind ourselves to take a day off, or even a vacation, but it's imperative (especially if you're inspired by experiences like I am).
What are your top strategies for building community amongst creatives?
We have a lot of regular programming, but also make it a point to reinvent ourselves consistently to meet the needs of Atlanta's creative citizens. Davy Minor, Deer Bear Wolf's President, describes it best when he says we are "fuel for the fire." We haven't ever been interested in profit, but we do try to challenge artists and our city to work together to strengthen our already strong creative culture. We started by doing what we liked, and now that our audience has grown, we want to give others the opportunity to show what the Arts in Atlanta means to them. That's why we're currently moving towards becoming a Non-Profit-- because we want to create actual, tangible opportunity for people. Whether that's through monetary means, resources, curatorial opportunities-- we're listening to Atlanta's creative pulse to see where we can assist best.
Tell us how people in Atlanta and beyond can get involved with Deer Bear Wolf!
We are always looking for volunteers and people who are interested in getting involved. Artists can submit their content throughout the year on our website, as well. While we're making this important transition to 501-(c)3, any support is welcome. I'm available by email at email@example.com for specific inquiries, feedback, ideas, etc. We're very approachable and easily accessible.
Creative Community Developer at Snapfluence.
I'm the Oxford comma's biggest fan.