SIOUX CITY – When you cultivate a creative community, you must have seeds of inspiration.
That’s what Jessica Hammond thought when she and fellow artist Kitty Hart founded Gathering Seeds, an informal monthly get-together focused on creativity, connection, and community enhancement.
On the last Sunday of every month, Hammond and Hart host a gathering for creatives to meet, interact, and collaborate on projects.
This month’s Gathering Seeds session will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on February 27 at Hardline Coffee, 515 Fourth St.
While Hammond, a large-scale muralist who exhibits as Brutal Doodles, specializes in kitsch, cartoon and sci-fi inspired pieces, she wanted Gathering Seeds to invite artists of all persuasions.
“It doesn’t matter if you paint, sculpt, knit, or write poetry, you’re still part of the artistic community,” the Sioux City native explained. “We don’t mind if you’re a performing artist or just a patron of the arts, we want Gathering Seeds to be an inviting space.”
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In fact, Hammond said that she and Hart began nurturing the idea of an arts collective shortly after the downtown Sioux City Alley arts festival wrapped up last September.
“Kitty and I were looking for something to do in the winter,” Hammond said. “We thought about booking a musical show where we would paint while a band played. Or we thought about getting a group of artists together to do a big show.”
Instead, Hammond and Hart decided to get the whole community in on the act.
“Over the past few years, Sioux City has seen its arts community grow,” Hammond said. “Between new galleries and fun festivals like Artsplash and the Alley Art Festival, there are more and more ways to enjoy art.”
More important is the fact that art is seen as a quality of life issue for a community.
This is especially relevant to Hammond, who is a street art proponent with an entrepreneurial streak.
“There is a marketing side to art,” she said. “A painter can paint a mural but he may need a photographer, videographer or web designer to create a website to sell the mural.”
This is where Gathering Seeds comes in.
What if a musician wants to collaborate on a project with a sculptor? What if an artistic newcomer wants to take a hobby to the next level?
“Art can be a lonely thing, but it doesn’t have to be,” Hammond said. “It’s a lot more fun when there’s a community that’s connected through art.”
The first Gathering Seeds event, held in January, attracted nearly 20 people. Hammond wants the February Gathering Seeds to be even bigger.
“If you want, feel free to bring your own art supplies, musical instruments, or just bring yourself,” she said. “At Gathering Seeds, our sole purpose is to nurture creativity and bring it back into our community.”