Creativity is a muscle we all have. It just needs to be exercised! We had the opportunity to work out our creative muscles during Red Orange Studio’s Coffee and Conversations event: Creativity is Contagious, Too. On April 23, Virginia business professionals joined the Red Orange team to discuss the practice of creativity as a means of coping, connecting and collaborating during COVID-19.


A special thanks go to our three creative guest speakers: Jolinda Smithson of CreativeMornings/Richmond and Shapes & Colors, by Jolinda; Nick Davis of Nick Davis Photography, Sidekick RVA and Come Together Virginia; and Maggie Kerrigan of Virginia Beach Art Center.

Red Orange Studio | Jolinda

Jolinda Smithson

Red Orange Studio | Nick

Nick Davis

Red Orange Studio | Maggie

Maggie Kerrigan

In addition to withstanding the woes of COVID-19, these individuals shared an impressive amount of perseverance and positivity that can be attributed to their own creative practices. From focusing on themselves to redirecting their energies back into the community, it is clear that creativity has the ability to heal from the inside out and outside in. They provided specific action steps we can all take to make creativity part of our daily routine. And keep in mind (and as Maggie mentioned!), you don’t have to be artistic to be creative.


If you are wondering how you can leverage creativity in your personal or professional life, here are three tips you can practice today:


  1. Focus on what you can control. As Jolinda advised, you can’t force creativity on your teams or on others. Instead, focus on harnessing creativity within yourself. Especially during unknown times, it’s important (and healthy!) to focus on what you can control. You never know who you’ll end up inspiring as a result.


  1. Just ask. As the old adage goes, if you never ask, the answer is always no. As Nick proved with his story of founding Sidekick RVA, you have to be fearless when pitching new ideas to partners and friends. You can’t let the fear of rejection prevent you from pursuing your creative pursuits. When you speak up, you’ll be surprised who is actually listening and who wants to help.


  1. Start with the most ridiculous ideas! Maggie, a visual artist and coach, often starts her art classes by having her students make “ugly art” first. By encouraging the group to create in this way, it creates a safe space for each person to be vulnerable and to contribute without the pressure of any high standards. This same exercise can be applied in any type of brainstorming session across any industry. Help your group tap into their own creativity by soliciting the most ridiculous ideas first.
Red Orange Studio | A Whole New Mind

Our Red Orange leadership and generous guest speakers also shared a short reading list of inspirational books on creativity:

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Need more inspiration? Red Orange Studio has created a variety of resources to help you harness your creativity. In addition to our creativity kit, we’ve also put together a 14-day creativity prompt series. Once a day, aim to complete one prompt exercise at a time. If it’s a visual activity, feel free to take a picture, post it on social and be sure to tag us and use the hashtag #CreativityIsContagious. We’d love to see what you’ve done. Lastly, if you want to chat, we’re happy to talk through our creative processes with you – no strings attached, no charge, and no expectations. When one business succeeds, an entire community succeeds, because we are all in this together!

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