A place to gather.
Last night, Room Project hosted its monthly member’s meeting. This one was a little different because we were celebrating the lease on the space being renewed for another year.
To acknowledge the gravitas of the announcement, we turned desks into dining tables and decorated them with dried flowers, candles, cloth, and stones. We ate food from Coriander Kitchen & Farm and members spoke about the projects they are working on.
There was talk of a collective performance piece to facilitate the ongoing spiritual healing of Black women, an offer to support small business owners in getting paid, an invitation to volunteer to mentor local youth, the possibility of a typography workshop for writers, and someone seeking help creating upcycled sweatshirts.
Bernita Bradley read a poem from her book The Girl In The Alley about women who are superheroes despite their ripped capes. Someone else talked about the way we all struggle with imposter syndrome and how we must keep creating art.
In this bright space with its overflowing wall of books and rows of plants on shelves and eclectic seating, we gathered. We laughed, snapped our fingers, clapped, ate, and drank.
It was a perfect evening. I arrived early to help set up and the decorations came together collaboratively and the food was the right amount of late. At the end of the night, I stayed to help return the space to its non-celebration layout and we arranged the desks a little differently because this was a new beginning.
If I felt overwhelmingly grateful for Room Project before last night, I have no words for how much more full I feel now. Not only has Christin Lee created a physical space for us to gather, but she has also facilitated a collective creative body with its own heartbeat that is allowing us to connect, create, and belong.
It matters that we have physical spaces to occupy with people like us. Places where we can celebrate and support one another. Where we can break bread and offer touch and share the details of our lives, whether professional, creative or personal.
After last night, I feel a renewed commitment to my decision to move more of my work from the online space into the physical communities in which I live. Of course, the digital world has its place. And we still need what is real and tangible to keep us well.
We need that. You need that.
So, what real spaces can you gather in with people like you?