After listening to Evan La Ruffa you are going to recognize your sense of curiosity and unleash your inner creative in a way you haven’t before! He’s the founder of a nonprofit to promote artists based in Chicago called IPaintMyMind.org.
His organization publishes arts coverage, supports artists, and connects the public with great emerging art.
He’s on a mission to make art more accessible to everyone. And I would say he’s already done ana amazing job living up to that mission be getting art displayed in public buildings in all 50 wards of Chicago through their Shared Walls program.
Before starting IPaintMyMind, he spent several years working in the nonprofit world. He describes the three threads of his career as a writer, curator and organizer, which all came together to create his nonprofit.
He started curating content online to highlight artists, as well as creating content and eventually organizing events. The next logical step was to build an organization around his natural habits and the community he attracted.
There were a lot of fun tangents from my conversation with Evan, but a few worth noting include:
- Why Evan believes great content creation often comes from offering next steps and actionable advice to the audience.
- How he leveraged his community building skills and his writing skills to start a blog as the springboard for his nonprofit.
- Why he believes he’s most productive by embracing his creative bursts and taking breaks between those intense cycles of work.
Life Skills That Matter In This Episode
- Building community both on and offline.
- Telling your story in order to provide value and solutions.
- Align your habits with your purpose.
How Evan Works and Thinks
- Wake up time: Around 6:45 am
- Core work activities + habits: 1) Outreach for sales to private clients. 2) Outreach to schools, libraries, community centers, etc. to offer free resources. 3) Writing, curating, and organizing.
- Ideal work environment: At the gallery’s bar, surrounded by art with big windows and lots of natural light.
- Superpower: Empathizing with other’s visions of themselves and helping them.
- Regains focus by: Taking a break. Step away, take a breather, and go for a walk.
- 90-day goal: Launch a course that’s currently in development.
“In running a business, or freelancing, or getting your own thing going, there’s certainly a solutions-oriented creativity that one needs.”
“Curation just means organizing aesthetics in patterns and themes.”
“If I don’t get up and make things happen today, no one else is kicking the can down the road for me.”
“No matter what, we’re fulfilling our mission of making art accessible to everyone.”
“Creativity and creative solutions will only become more and more necessary.”
Everyone has creativity in them and creating a business requires creative approaches to problem solving. To explore your own creativity, Evan suggested the following steps:
1) Explore other people’s creativity. Derive inspiration from other’s projects.
2) Dive into a project. Get engaged and energized to get deeper into the ideas.