Tearing Down Walls

  • Written by Kevin Archie

Last month, I had the privilege of participating in my first  CreateAthon, a 24-hour marathon of sorts where creatives come together and do promotional work on a pro bono basis for nonprofits in need. We began early in the morning with bright spirits, copious amounts of coffee, and enough energy and excitement to tear down the walls of the WECO and rebuild it again seven times over. And if I didn’t know any better, I’d say that’s exactly what we did.

I met with my team and dove into the work for my nonprofit organization MIRCI, the Mental Illness Recovery Center, Inc. They were going to have a fundraiser in the coming year and the main attraction would be an art auction of refurbished windows that were decorated by local artists. After considering many names for the event, we went with 52 Windows, despite the fact that we had no idea exactly how many windows there would be. Though the number was random, the name had the serious attitude of an art exhibit while being curious enough to grab a person’s attention. I created a variety of different logos but in the end went with the first one I made.

Somewhere between the tenth cup of coffee and the fifteenth, I must have drifted into a caffeine-dazed coma because before I knew it, the sun was down and I was sitting at the briefing table with over 30 amazingly talented people as they listened to my botched attempt at describing the work that lay before me on a measly 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. That’s when I really saw what I’d been staring at for the past twelve hours—and I didn’t like it.

I cowered away with the night ahead of me, uncertain that I could pull it all together and wishing I could start over. Then it hit me (in a creepy Yoda voice of course): exactly what you must do, that is. I scanned over my sketchbook, saw a forgotten idea from earlier in the day, and immediately began scrapping what I had and going in a new direction. The walls were falling down around me and the hours left were enough to count on one hand, but I somehow managed to finish the required work in the allotted time.

In the morning, the clients—one of whom was my next door neighbor— loved the work and were thrilled that we had chosen to use the number 52 since their event would be held on MIRCI’s 52nd Anniversary. I just nodded my head and smiled, no longer surprised at what CreateAthon can do.

–Kevin Archie