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No Spectators

"'No Spectators’ is a long-standing saying on Playa. You are encouraged to fully participate. It’s all about being there, being fully present, and not just observing. Two of the ten principles of Burning Man are radical participation and radical inclusivity, meaning that there are no outsiders. Everyone is part of the experience.”

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Now, I've never been to Burning Man. I'm not sure I ever will, or that the experience would really be for me. The art that comes out of Black Rock City and the Burning Man community every year though - that is something I connect with. It is phenomenal. It can be hauntingly beautiful, slightly off-putting, or even creepily strange. But it is always one thing: inspiring.

The exhibit currently occupying the Renwick Gallery on Pennsylvania NW in DC is called "No Spectators: the Art of Burning Man." I went last week, and since going, I've had a couple things on my mind. 

The individuals and teams that create the art for Burning Man do so for the love of creating. They don't get paid or receive commission for exhibiting works at the festival. Traditionally, the art isn't even meant to stick around after the close of the festival. It's deconstructed after being shown, and some of it is never put back together. Artists usher into reality spectacular pieces of art merely for the pleasure of creating, for the joy of completing a project, and for the magic that happens when others in their community interact with their completed pieces. 

What's gotten stuck in a loop in my head since visiting the No Spectators exhibit at the Renwick is how some of the radical ideas of Burning Man also apply to the Red Room Collective. 

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RRC members also create because they believe in the creative process. We create because we believe that gifts should be celebrated and stories deserve to be told. We tell our stories through song and through written word; with cameras, and with paint, and and with pen. We tell our stories though creative expression, not for money and fame, but because we love the process of creation and the chance to share that creation with others. 

Which brings me to community.

Like the burners who visit Black Rock City each year, RRC Collective members know that what makes any experience fantastic is the community. And more than anything else, RRC is about community. We know that we are nothing alone, and everything together. The art we make and the stories we tell are beautiful because they are created and celebrated by community. 

Two of the ten Burning Man principles are radical inclusion and radical participation. Burning Man has no spectators, because everyone participates in and contribute to the community. 

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The same could be said of the RRC. We share truths, create community, and break barriers together. We allow no one to be an outsider, but instead ask everyone to become an active, creative member in the community. We welcome everyone to be a part of that magic. And in return, we ask only that after we share our stories with you, you share yours in return. 

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Come check out the RRC's version of radical inclusion and radical participation at any of our spaces or events. With any questions, email querida@staydrmn.com. 

Creative Writer's Circle - Meetings are the first Saturday of each month. We meet those Saturdays at the Potter's House from 11am to 1pm writing, chatting, and swapping stories. Let us know if you can make it: querida@staydrmn.com and backtrack@staydrmn.com

Music Lover's Circle - The first meeting happened a couple weeks ago! But don't worry, SPNDRFT is happy to share how that first meeting went, and to welcome you to the next one in April! Message him at spndrft@staydrmn.com

Wellness and Mindfulness Circle - Meditation and yoga are great ways to tap into creativity in a new way. Message flow@staydrmn.com and querida@staydrmn.com to get on the list of those interested in this group. Check back soon to find out when the first meeting will take place. 

Poets+Freestylers - Our most established circle, Poets + Freestylers meets each 4th Monday of the month in the Red Room Studio. Message spndrft@staydrmn.com if you want to come through for the first time!

WRK PRTY - Sometimes it's just nice to sit in community when there's too much work to be done! Every Sunday at 3pm come to the Studio with your laptop or your sketchpad to get some work done in community with the RRC. 

Creative Saturday - This is when we all gather together as one big creative community! Our next CS is May 19th at the Congress Heights Arts & Culture Center

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See ya there! And in the meantime, #STAYDRMN