Day 102

A beautiful building near Philly's Fishtown neighborhood 

As I was walking to work this morning, I couldn’t help but look up at the buildings along the way. At first, I was disappointed to see nothing but shades of concrete grey. But then, I started to look a little closer. I began to notice the intricate details within each of the buildings. From elaborate stone window dressings to archways adorned with decorative latticework. All things I don’t take enough time to appreciate the true beauty of. Yet, for whatever reason, all these labor-intensive details stood out to me this morning.

Upon entering the office, I started to think about all the new construction I saw over the weekend—the modern-looking apartment complexes with colored glass walls, Juliet balconies and stainless steel lighting fixtures. It was the same style I saw in new constructions throughout Cleveland, Boston and New York City. It’s almost as if these companies are using cookie-cutters to form these structures. It’s a bit unsettling, because there’s nothing unique about them. There’s nothing that makes you understand where you are and what came before.

One of the city's many murals 

One of the city's many murals 

That’s why citywide creative projects, such as Philly’s Mural Arts Program, are so important. They help maintain and cultivate a city’s true identity. But in reality, we can't rely on such initiatives. It’s up to the people to make things happen. In each of the agencies I’ve visited thus far, I’ve meet extraordinary people who not only utilize their creative minds for clients, but also pursue outside endeavors that add to their city’s personality. From hosting shows at an art house cinema to helping rebuild a neighborhood’s brand and vision, these collective projects help to keep the “cookie-cutters” at bay.

They may not be the flashiest areas, but you can always tell when you’re entering an artistic neighborhood, because it’s sure to be the most distinct and captivating. So, I encourage everyone reading this to look at where you live and see if there’s anything you can do to improve it, distinguish it or even rebuild it. We are all creative people and that should never be limited to the hours of 9-5.


Day Sixty One

OBEY in Boston

OBEY in Boston

Well folks, my time in Boston has officially come to an end. It’s a rather bittersweet feeling, because I wasn’t able to do nearly as much as I would’ve liked to. Whether it was rain, snow or an odd combination of the two, the weather seemed to sabotage me at every turn. Yet, as I post this in my final hours here, a sense of accomplishment is beginning to wash over me.

Sure, the winter weather wasn’t ideal, but I guess that’s part of Boston’s charm. Some days, you can go out and have a blast. Others, you just stay inside and rest in front of your wood-burning stove. In fact, that’s something I'll always remember about Boston—the sweet smell of hickory smoke filling the air every time it snowed.

In addition to experiencing a true New England winter, BEAM offered me the opportunity to engage with an entirely new agency culture. While I don’t think I got to know everyone as well as I wanted to, I’m thrilled to have shared the experience with such an awesome group of people. From engaging meetings to evenings on the town, they brought me into the fold and made me feel right at home.

Of course, this "wrap up" post wouldn’t be complete without talking about the hostel. I don’t think I slept through an entire night during my stay there. And I still have this lingering taste of faux scrambled eggs in my mouth. Yet, my time there afforded me a chance to encounter people from all over the world. I met a couple from Australia, backpackers from Sweden and some friends from Japan—all happily ready to swap stories with me. I’m still not sure if I’m cut out for hostel living, but it’s an experience I wouldn’t change for the world.

All in all, Boston was nothing short of eventful. But for now, I turn my attention to my home away from home, New York City. I’m sure that as we inch closer to Spring, I’ll have more tales to tell. I'm just hoping I don’t have to deal with another blizzard in the Big Apple. After all, I arrived in Boston during a snowstorm and I’ll be getting into New York during Super Bowl weekend—I’m not sure which is worse, but boy do I have some poor planning skills.

P.S. – For those living in Boston, I highly recommend checking out Stephen Swift’s Trash Night—now at the Brattle Theatre in Harvard Square. It had me rolling in the aisles. Think of it as a mix between Tim and Eric and Mystery Science Theater 3000, where the audience is encouraged to get loaded and yell at cheesy movies.

I'll see you in NYC,