How to Connect Groups With Their Creative Side

At their best, meetings and conferences help attendees discover and develop competencies they never knew they possessed. Those competencies might include leadership, for instance, teamwork, or communication. Or, something that's even more valuable in today's business landscape: creativity.

Without creativity, it's impossible to be innovative. And without innovation, it's impossible to outpace the competition.

So, how can planners help attendees unleash their inner creativity? Art is an obvious tool. But it's not enough to expose attendees to pretty pictures. Meeting planners who really want to inspire attendees also should expose them to the people who create them -- which they can do at a number of art-centric hotels.

"Although viewing art is often a passive, solitary endeavor, art-forward hotels have found a way to make it hands-on and social," Successful Meetings reports. "By hosting 'artists in residence,' they have activated art in a way that makes it more accessible and interesting to meeting groups, which can leverage onsite artists as speakers, facilitators, tour guides, coaches, collaborators, and, of course, muses."

For an example, consider The Vendue in Charleston, SC.

"The Vendue's current artist in residence is Belgium-born artist Fred Jamar, whose work is dominated by Charleston cityscapes," Successful Meetings says. "The second artist to utilize The Vendue's working studio … he has been based at the property for over two years and interacts with hotel guests daily during tours of his studio. He also makes weekly appearances during the Manager's Reception, a complimentary art-themed reception that takes place each afternoon with wine and canapés."

Attendees who are invited to merely look at art might end up zoning out or dozing off; attendees who get to interact with the artist who created it, however, are more likely to engage with it. And hopefully, to feel inspired by it in ways that benefit both themselves and their company.

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