I am this moment sitting in the most fertile creative space I have ever encountered. A singer is singing her heart out, a baby not quite toddler size yet has been dancing — now Dad is swinging her in his arms to the rhythm of the music. Around me are five artists doing paintings as the music surrounds them. A handful of others are making pictures on colored paper, including a couple of elementary aged children. The baristas are providing award-winning cappuccino art. Some are enjoying craft beers. I have a very good single malt Scotch (the one I recommended).
I am at PT’s Coffee, known in some circles as the Monkey. It is Friday evening and the room is filled with people. Some of the people I respect the most are here. It is hard to put into words the feel of a room so vibrant, so filled with life and art and music. I have spent time talking with many of these people on other occasions. Two are members of my Wednesday morning Spiritual Formation group (one of those two is making art right now). Many of the conversations I have had with folks here have revealed a depth of character, a thoughtfulness and intelligence that is beyond their years.
What makes this even more intriguing to me is that last evening I was at the Kauffman Center at the Symphony. The centerpiece of that performance was the world premiere of a symphony composed by Adam Schoenberg who is a composer in residence with the Kansas City Symphony. That symphony was composed in response to four paintings, three photographs and one sculpture chosen from the huge collection at the Nelson Gallery. In a sense it is the reverse of what is happening here tonight. Artists are painting as the music is playing. Adam Schoenberg wrote music as he reflected on paintings. What a mind-blowing convergence of experiences, Symphony Hall and Coffee Shop, both delivery rooms for creativity.