Recrear New Orleans: some reflections
Almost one year after Recrear.beta I feel confident to say that despite all the threats and weaknesses that have become obvious during our first year in business, our strengths and opportunities by far outnumber our problems. Recrear is a young and evolving organization; for the better or worst, all the people involved with the organization see different opportunities in what Recrear could become. The ‘common denominator’ of Recrear is its cool ‘swag’ that brings along an energetic atmosphere of optimism and excitement.
The sense that this excitement is pervasive and contagios felt particularly tangible during our time in New Orleans. Our two weeks in the city were originally supposed to be an opportunity to fundraise and deliver a pilot for our project in the Dominican Republic. What we found was a deeply committed group of well-connected and ambitious people ready to take ownership of Recrear’s vision and mission.
We worked together for two weeks to invent ‘Recrear New Orleans’. The ‘master plan’ we developed together is really on point. Basically, we plan to leverage on our resources to craft projects with an international flavors and a deep connection to local community. The Prezi presentation in this post (result of an intense collaborative efforts and various hours of lost sleep) sums up our work and gives an overview of the program we plan to deliver in the next year.
In prospective, I have been thinking a lot about the way all of our ideas were first thrown out randomly and than took a coherent form on the way by being distorted, nourished, questioned and reinterpreted. In our work, we really do believe in the strength of ideas. I also believe that ideas don’t have much intrinsic value. When they first form they are not very useful; instead, they gain all their power when they are picked up and passed around. I like to think that I cannot claim ownership for any of ‘my’ best ideas, mostly because to make it the rank of ‘best’ then different people must have regurgitated them into different context.
The frames that we had made to fundraise part of our project in the Dominican Republic are a good example of this idea of ‘collaborative mess’ that I value so much. In our first day in New Orleans, Kevin Kirsten and I visited the Green Project looking for some fundraising inspiration. During Recrear.beta (Berlin) and RecrearApply! (Nablus) we have collected some pretty cool shots (thanks especially to Komal and Kevin) and we thought it would be interesting to make some frames. Now, who came up with this idea? No clue- and to be sincere it does not matter at all. We found some wood and some glass and randomly invested 13 dollars, with no real vision of how everything was going to fit together (and most importantly with no proven carpenter or framing skills).
The frame project was picked up by Laura and Ryan who saved the day in grand style (*). Laura offered her artistic skills in an afternoon of work under the New Orleans heat. Crucially, she also donated her photographic paper and ink as well as a long evening messing with a capricious printer. Ryan overcame gravity and developed an ingenious system to connect all pieces without glue (**). Moral of the tale, instead of flying away like many of brilliant ideas that come and go at Recrear, the frame idea somehow transformed wood and glass into gorgeous frames.
During our time working together in New Orleans we all came up with some very clever ideas to catch and play with. In our PREZI you will learn more about the IDEA BOX that is at the heart of the chapter’s program for this year. I won’t spoil it by saying too much about it – in short, there is a ton of good ideas on the way.
Now that our time here has come to an end, I want to thank once more all of the New Orleans team for the full load of Duracell charge I received in the last two weeks. This city will always have a special place in me; if possible, with the Recrear chapter in New Orleans the city becomes even more fun.
– Gioel G.
(*) By the way, this is my way of thanking you one more time :).
(**) I would feel bad for all the hours Ryan spent on mounting the frames, except I know the little carpenter in him got a good an ego boost – not to mention the priceless awareness that he has a solid backup plan to earn a living.