Downtown Main Street Theme

Mississippi Boulevard Baptist Church, Memphis, TN

This abstract and cartoon main street mural features some specific Memphis icons such as BBQ and the City Zoo. While all of the walls areas are completely covered with murals, the lack of 3-D sculptures keeps the space open and serves as a colorful and creative passageway to the children’s classrooms. Muraled wood panels add a touch of 3-D for maximum visual effect and “wow factor.” A themed environment that provides saturation of art, yet simple design for a creative and open space. This environment is very flexible and can work for almost any space from kids church hallways to daycare and schools and with design alterations it can work with practically any age group.

ELEMENTS
Airbrushed, hand-painted murals and wood cutouts.

AREA
This custom-designed theme covers two sides of a wide hallway and included theming of existing sign-in desk.

PRICE RANGE
$20K – $30K

Church Unleashed

We had a great team of artists come along with us to Church Unleashed in Commack, New York to build their “Ultra Kids” themed environment. Brent Hooper managed the onsite project and all installations, Chattanooga-based mural artist, Seven, created the spray paint murals in the classrooms and hallway and artist Anier Fernandez painted the onsite silhouette murals, signs and 3-D props. 3-D sculptures and onsite airbrushed murals were created by Rick Baldwin.

Church Unleashed Lead Pastor, Todd Bishop and his staff welcomed us into their new space on Long Island, New York for six days. During this period, Imagination Atmospheres themed several areas for the “Ultra Kids” – a sign-in area with a 3-D roller coaster cart, a worship room with 360° murals depicting a fair and arcade, a Noah’s Ark classroom and hallway, an Eve’s garden classroom and hallway, a Moses classroom and hallway and a hallway mural featuring “God’s Great Galaxy.”

Despite a a long cramped van ride to New York and a wind storm which knocked out our power for over 24 hours, the IA team rose to the occasion and in the end created a wonderful and creative environment for the kids at Church Unleashed. A big thanks to Pastors Todd and Mary Bishop for inviting us up and trusting us with their theming project.

CenterPoint Church Before and After

We’re frequently asked if we can post “Before and After” photos of the spaces we transform. So much so that we will soon start a new gallery specifically made up of “Before and After” photos. In the meantime, here’s one of a hallway we did for a CenterPoint Church’s children’s church area in Concord, New Hampshire:

church theme | before and after 01

 

Rochester, Indiana Visit

Rochester Indiana

Rochester Indiana Downtown. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons.

We had a perfect visit to Rochester, Indiana this past weekend to install a theme. While there, we had a great time being tourists, taking photos of the beautiful houses and of the historic downtown area. A street fair was scheduled for the weekend we were there which added to the fun. We enjoyed coffee at the coffee shop and dined on Mexican food at a very uniquely themed restaurant. It seems like almost every time we visit a new city, I imagine what it would be like to move there. I always look for a potential location for an Imagination Atmospheres workshop. Rochester had several ready to move in locations downtown. One in particular was a former tire garage. I think it would be the perfect location if we ever decide to move to Indiana although I’m not sure I could talk the rest of the staff into packing up and making the change. We met some great people in Rochester and look forward to returning. Maybe during another downtown street fair?

Q:21 with Suzanne Curtis Campbell

Suzanne Curtis Campbell is a Tennessee native now in her first year at UCLA’s MFA program in Screenwriting. Her previous lives include various stints as, in no particular order: A theatre actor, country music DJ, Playwright, magazine writer, late night hotel auditor, non-profit staff, theatre director, theatre company Artistic Director, wife and mother to two “hairy children.” Peers often comment on how great she is at being short.

Suzanne Curtis CampbellIA: What books currently on your bookshelf get your highest rating?
SCC: A practical book on writing scripts — The Dramatic Writer’s Companion by Will Dunne. Nerd heaven.

IA: What makes you laugh the most?
SCC: Hm. I laugh a lot. Life is really funny to me. Surprises make me laugh. I’m also a sucker for one liners and sarcasm. I can find something laughable about most anything. This is not always a strength.

IA: What place have you been that has inspired you the most?
SCC: I felt really inspired in Europe, in countries much older than America, where the continuum of the human experience is more “in your face.” It’s impossible to turn around in Europe without being reminded of the past, which puts me in a contemplative mood. I guess I feel inspired when I’m contemplating? Weird.

IA: Who are your heroes?
SCC: People who persist. I’m a “hero-ho.” I have a lot of heroes. These days, it’s writers and artists– Chayefsky, Kubrick, Lumet, those 70s chestnuts.

IA: What’s your favorite technique for battling creative block?
SCC: Routine. There’s a quote attributed to Picasso, but others have expressed similar sentiments: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” To finish a project, I have to work even when I don’t feel like it. It’s part of having a practice rather than a hobby.

IA: Who is the most famous person you have seen out in public?
SCC: I saw Jay Leno in traffic once.

IA: How would you heckle someone in Shakespearean language?
SCC: For a solid Shakespearean sounding insult, use lots of “thees” and “thous.” Toss out the words “coxcomb” and “cuckold.” Oh, and try to keep it to ten iambic syllables.

IA: What is the one thing you wish you knew when you were younger?
SCC: Patience solves most problems.

IA: Have you always kept a diary?
SCC: Yes, since about the age of 9. I’ve always been a compulsive writer. But now we all have a shared diary, and it’s called Facebook.

IA: Do you prefer working alone or in collaboration?
SCC: Alone, but I’m learning how to fake a good attitude about collaborating.

IA: What is your best advice to a beginning writer?
SCC: Write. I used to hate it when people told me that, but it’s true. Talking about writing isn’t writing. Only writing is writing, and it’s the best way to learn it. If you put words on paper, you’ll have a mechanism for feedback. It’s easy to think about writing. It’s tougher to put the time into it and risk failure.

IA: Which is funnier: Jello® or pudding?
SCC: I’m told words with the “p” sound are funny. I’ll have to go with pudding. Pickle pudding would be hilarious. To a toddler. Yell it repeatedly to a toddler. You’ll bring the house down.

IA: What is the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done?
SCC: I’m danger-avoidant. My encounters with danger are always involuntary. I was held up at gun point once. That was dangerous. If I had it to do over? I wouldn’t.

IA: What song would sound much better with a little banjo added to it?
SCC: What song WOULDN’T sound better with a little banjo added to it? You, sir, are a man of vision for asking the question. I’d start with “Head Over Heels” by the Go-Gos.

IA: If you were inventing a name for a soap opera character what would it be?
SCC: Something that sounds like a man with a mustache. I’m thinking night-time soap. Rex? Maybe a city name. Something that takes itself really seriously. Rex London. That’s a character with a mustache and an agenda.

IA: Do you believe creativity is a spiritual function?
SCC: I believe creativity is a way for humans to understand existence. For some, it feels spiritual. For others, it feels analytical. For me, it is both. But I’ve had the impulse all my life. No one ever told me to create. I’ve always felt obsessed with it.

IA: Where would you like to be in 10 years time?
SCC: Alive. Healthy. Working in my field with no day job. Making money as a writer. I’m keeping it real and doing the one day at a time thing. Keeping that mindset helps maintain the level of patience required to endure.

IA: What is the best flavor of lip gloss?
SCC: Vanilla. Haters can suck it. I’ll also go for a good berry option. But I prefer the more subtle flavors. A strong lip gloss can haunt the nostrils worse than Vick’s Vap-O-Rub®.

IA: Who is your favorite character in literature?
SCC: I have many. Charles Marlow from Conrad’s Heart of Darkness comest to mind. He goes through a great ordeal but spends a lot of time reflecting. It’s technically not a poem but reads like one to me.

IA: What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten?
SCC: Crow. Metaphorically speaking, of course. I’m happy to admit when I’m wrong about something.

IA: If you were casting a live version of “Gumby and Pokey” what actors would you put in the lead?
SCC: It would star Schwarzenegger and DeVito. The title: Twins II.

Q:21 with Lydia Smith

Lydia Smith is a singer-songwriter who hones her craft in Nashville, Tennessee, a town rife with music culture and history. She has performed at numerous world famous venues, including Douglas Corner Cafe, The Commodore Grille, and the legendary Bluebird Café. She is among several Nashville-based songwriters selected by Emmy-nominated director Stacey K. Black, to follow in the documentary “Send My Mail to Nashville.” 

Lydia’s hobbies include photography, bird watching, reading, and refinishing thrift store furniture. Despite being gregarious, she claims to be a true introvert, and prefers spending time enjoying nature with her best friend and canine companion, Oreo. She plans to record and release an album of original material later this year.

Lydia SmithIA: How long have you worked in the music industry?
LS: Music has been my passion since childhood, but it took me until just a few years ago to embrace the fact that I was a songwriter and decide to follow the path I knew was right for me.

IA: Describe your life in one word.
LS: Divine.

IA: What is on your bookshelf?
LS: So. Many. Books. Michael Ondaatje is my favorite author and I have more by him than any other single author. I have four bookshelves filled to capacity, and numerous boxes of books; despite giving them away by the dozens every time I move house.

IA: Do you consider yourself to be a spiritual person?
LS: Deeply, and more so every day.

IA: What kind of jobs have you had?
LS: Ha! I have held innumerable jobs over the years. Some were really fun, but not profitable, some relatively profitable and hugely UN-Fun, and LOTS of unsatisfying jobs that I was ill suited for. Some of the ones that come to mind include a blessedly brief stint as a telephone sales person for the Nashville Symphony, manager of a very posh Aveda concept salon for many years, and hostess/server/bartender at a Mexican restaurant.

IA: If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
LS: I can see myself living happily in many different places, but Italy has resonated with me since first I saw it on a map as a child. I love everything I know about Italy; the culture, the art, the language, food, wine, countryside, the rich history. It feels both familiar and yet somehow exciting. I am looking forward to visiting several different areas to see which would be the best fit for me.

IA: What music are you listening to now?
LS: Jason Isbell’s new record “Southeastern”. In fact, I have listened to it endlessly since it’s release last year. It’s deep and it’s dark, and painfully honest.  In my opinion, Jason Isbell is a modern day poet and storyteller in the same vein as Kris Kristofferson, Lucinda Williams and Townes Van Zandt. I feel confident that he will stand the test of time, and prove to be one of the finest songwriters of our generation.

IA: Describe your typical day.
LS:  The first thing I do is a morning meditation, followed by a gigantic mug of coffee, and a long, unhurried stroll with my buddy Oreo. Where I live, the wildlife out numbers the human population, and we take our time admiring the flora and fauna. Many times I will get a cool idea for a song, or a line will come to me that is the perfect fit for a line that needed to be rewritten. Then it’s back home to do some songwriting, either working on a new song idea or tweaking one in progress, and a little guitar practice. Eventually, I get around to returning phone calls, email and dabbling on the social media sites. Afternoons are the time I run errands and take care of any household chores, and I finish out my day with an evening meditation.

IA: If you had to be any of these things, which would you like to be? a.) a member of the opposite sex,  b.) a clock, c.) a pair of shoes, d.) a duck.  
LS: A duck. I think it would be cool to experience what it’s like to inhabit a completely different type of body; in this case one covered with feathers and webbed feet to waddle around with. Being a duck seems like it would be fun. I mean, they get to live outside, swim all day, they have the ability to fly, and they get to quack really loudly when they have something to say.

IA: What are the last three items you bought?
LS: Painting supplies, brushes, rollers, drop cloths, etc.  I do interior painting jobs to support my songwriting habit.

IA: Who are your heroes?
LS: Gandhi, Jane Goodall, Kris Kristofferson and Martin Luther King.

IA: How do you get in the “zone” to create your music?
LS: Ahhh, great question! I am lucky in that I am able to easily come up with ideas for songs, powerful lines, and song titles, but the best things seem to come to me in the shower, or driving, or even when I am painting and not trying so hard. The Muse loves to catch us off guard. The ideas come easily, but in order to craft that into a song, I need total focus, with no distractions. I seem to create easily when I am well-rested, not hungry or tired and feeling relaxed, and in a very quiet setting with no interruption. In addition to that, I am a creature of habit, so I like to be seated at my desk, with the sunlight streaming in, a fresh sheet of paper and my favorite pen in hand. It’s almost a form of self-hypnosis, and allows the words to flow easily.

IA: What is the best gift you’ve ever received?
LS: I truly believe that life itself, every bit of it, really is a gift. We get caught up in our own little melodramas and forget to pay attention to the trees swaying in the wind, the way the sunlight reflects off the water, the multitude of precious moments that occur every single day. Right now, I am most thankful for the sweet souls that come into my life seemingly exactly when I need them. We have so many lessons to teach and to learn from one another, and although I realize that may not be what you were asking, I can’t think of a single possession that is better than that.

IA: Who or what has been your greatest inspiration in life?
LS: Inspiration comes from many sources, but I am inspired to be a better songwriter every time I hear a great songwriter sing a song they have written. Music inspires music. I have several friends that inspire me to be a better version of myself every day. Among them are Stacey K. Black who is a phenomenal LA based filmmaker and songwriter in her own right, and who has just finished a documentary about Nashville songwriters titled, “Send My Mail to Nashville.” She is truly a force of nature!  My dear friend Donnie Winters inspires me to be a better guitar player, as well as a better human being. He is an incredible picker, songwriter, and singer, and when he yodels his cowboy song, it brings a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. I wish I could give them both a humanitarian award for all they have done to inspire and uplift others, especially in the songwriting community.

IA: Is there anything that you haven’t done yet that you feel compelled to do in the future?
LS: Oh yes, I still have lots of things on my to do list. One of my goals for this year is to go into a studio and record some of my music. There are still lots of places I want to perform at as well, like Music City Roots at the “Loveless Café,” “The Broken Spoke” in Austin Texas, and of course, the mother church, Nashville’s very own Ryman Auditorium.

IA: If you only had 24 hours to live, how would you spend your day?
LS: I would spend it surrounded by all my loved ones, outdoors, in the sunlight, savoring every moment, every smile, every hug, every delectable bite of food, every sound, and every emotion, exactly like I try to do every day.

IA: What brings you the greatest satisfaction?
LS: Definitely songwriting; stringing together words and setting it to a melody to create something where once there was only a germ of an idea is deeply satisfying to me.

IA: What are your hobbies?
LS: Most of my hobbies are music related: listening to music, writing, singing, and playing guitar. Photography is also a passion; I enjoy taking photos of nature, particularly the ever-changing sky. Oh, and I adore snuggling up with a good book; in fact, I consider my favorite books to be among some of my dearest friends.

IA: What is creativity?
LS: To me, it’s a way to bring what we imagine to life, a fun way to experiment, a way of seeing something in a different way than anyone else. I also believe everyone has the potential to be creative, it is our natural state of being.

IA: What is your greatest indulgence?
LS: Luxurious, handcrafted bath products.

IA: What is on your nightstand?
LS: A lovely lamp that was a gift from my very thoughtful daughter, a scented candle, and a book titled “The Vortex” by Abraham-Hicks.

(Photo by Karan Simpson, Mimosa Arts)

Aelita Andre : Prodigy of Color Exhibition in New York City

Aelita Andre is an Australian abstract artist known for her Surrealist painting style and her young age. She began to paint at nine months of age and her work was displayed publicly in a group exhibition shortly after she turned two. Her first solo exhibition opened in New York City in June 2011, when she was only four years old.