Have you ever had that moment where you look at your friends and realize they are all talented, smart, brave, and creative individuals, and been hit with a wave of pride and happiness? It’s a good moment. I can’t count the times I’ve been in awe of my friends who are writers, theater performers, printmakers, painters, musicians, web designers, and dancers. Creativity is boundless!
Why not harness all that beautiful creative energy and make something with your friends?
Here are 5 creative forward and inexpensive ideas to get you started:
1. Make a Zine or chapbook
This is a great project for a big group of creators to collaborate. Zines and chapbooks are homemade, self-published magazines or books. They can be as elaborate or as simple as you like, and the best part? They are essentially free and can include anything you want. Creative writing, collages, paintings, photographs… The list goes on! You can even have a “theme” for your Zine (friendship, failure, survival, etc.).
Get a couple friends together to be in charge of editing, compiling, and designing your Zine or chapbook. Send a message to all your friends calling for art submissions. After everyone has sent you their pieces, use any program that enables some graphic design to build your Zine (or go the old fashioned route and make a hard copy using glue sticks and folded paper). I’ve used Word, Publisher, and InDesign for this process. After all the editing and compiling is complete, head to your local copy shop and make as many copies of your Zine as you’d like!
Leave them in bookstores, coffee shops, give them to everyone who contributed, have a release party! Zines let everyone’s creativity come together in one place, and everyone will have a reminder of your awesome summer project.
2. Host an open mic night
Perfect for any evening, an open mic night lets everyone showcase their creativity in a safe, supportive space. Set a date and invite all your friends! Make a stage area in your backyard or living room; light candles, hang string lights, and have a sign up sheet for your friends to write what they will be doing on stage – a poetry reading? Singing a song? Playing guitar? A performance piece? Open Mics can be as open as you’d like. Sharing art with friends is seriously the best feeling.
Enjoy the company of good friends and bask in the glow of all that creative energy.
3. Have a crafternoon
I’m honestly so into this pun I came up with. Essentially a crafternoon is an afternoon where you pump up the jams and whip out all your craft supplies – embroidery thread, old magazines, glitter, Mod Podge, beads, anything you have! – and just MAKE STUFF. I’m a proponent of “janky crafting” which is just making crafts that fall out of the conventional Pinterest-inclined definition of crafting. Maybe it’s a giant letter banner that reads “FLAWLESS,” or embroidering a shirt with your fave motto like “GIRL POWER” or “END THE PATRIACHY.” Crafternoons can be spontaneous hangouts with your friends.
4. Start an art club
Art Clubs are a cool way to keep everyone creating throughout the summer (and during the school year!) Set up weekly or monthly meetings where everyone brings what they’ve been working on. Think of them as a show-and-tell, or even a workshop. This could be a chance to get feedback on that short story you’ve been writing, or a place to show the video you’ve been editing. Art Clubs spark discussion between fellow creators, which can inspire new material and make a community of artists.
5. Throw a dinner party
Everyone has to eat, why not eat with friends? Everyone brings their favorite dish, or maybe you all cook together. Cooking a meal with friends and sitting down to eat the tasty noms together is a beautiful (and sustainable) creative act. The kitchen is your art studio! Take your dinner party to the next level by giving it a theme – vegetarian cuisine, secret family recipes, etc. Summer is the perfect time to have a leisurely meal outside or indoors.
Enjoy the company of good friends, and bask in the glow of all that creative energy!
Also published on Medium.