Gamechangers Among Us

In 1979 I had a t shirt that said, “if you can’t win the game, change the rules”. I was constantly razzed for changing rules. Last night, I quickly realized I was among good company.  At the SparkClub + Pecha-Kucha = Gamechangers event we heard from an array of people who have realized that no one is winning the game, so it’s time to change the rules and they are doing just that.

The ability to get things done in a meaningful way was a core tenant in all 8 presentations. Four community organizers, two architects, one artist, a developer and restauranteur all shared the stories of their passion projects and business models which are making our community a better place to live.

THIS IS DALLAS!  What a pleasure to hear innovative thinkers approaching their work and communities.  they showcased their drive, their vision the higest calling for our community.

Jason Roberts talked about his vision inspired by trips to Europe in which he began asking “where are my plaza’s with fountains, coffee shops and children on bikes”?  Chris Zielke and Brent Jackson talked about a guerrilla restaurant at an abandoned taqueria to benefit the Mass Care Task Force and a new mixed use development anchored by a grocery store featuring sustainable, locally grown and produced foods. Marianna Griggs is inspiring a movement of community gardens to address food security and social justice.  Tori Trad presented an approach to architecture and design that celebrates community leaders and cultural richness in the newly renovated building for the The Diabetes Health and Wellness Institute at Juanita J. Craft Recreation Center.

Greg Metz shared images and philosophies on how art pushes our thinking, questions the norm and catalyzes change.  Omar Jahwar talked about invading the culture of the youth to provide positive exchanges and stem youth violenceBenje Feehan‘s shifted our thinking from how do we “create something beautiful” to how do we “preserve what is beautiful”.  Finally, Stacy Caldwell ended the night with a call to look beyond the “Land of Non” (the old world of nonprofits) to change the game, innovate the structures and realize the passion that is often lost in the institution.

An inspired film showing the power of Pecha Kucha.  The lesson encouraged people to abandon the old-school, check-writing philanthropy and just get “engaged”.  For, without action and personal involvement, we are not going to address the challenges our communties face.

We are greatful for the fine crowd that gathered at Sons of Herman Hall representing an amazing mix of do-gooders from all walks of life, ages, backgrounds and geographies.  I was unbelievably proud to be here in Dallas among such kindred spirits.

All of this would not have been possible without the generous and brilliant work of Scott Horn who came through on the A/V. Scott is a Gamechanger himself as artist, event planner, and co-curator of the Magnolia Gallery. I would also like to thank the SparkClub co-conspirators, sound by David Wilson, Sons of Hermann Hall and PKN.

Brian Murphy and Sarah Jane Semrad have brought our little city a major gift with Pecha-Kucha Night. They are doing more, so watch for future events like the one we had last night. It is amazing, inspirational and lots of fun.

We will have videos of each of these presentations soon from our man Jax Daws, so stay tuned.

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