On Feb. 13, poet Jason Vasser-Elong, composer and musician Adam Maness and stand-up comedian Mollie Amburgey kicked off Valentine’s Day at the Arts and Education Council’s Catalyst Conversations. The artists shared their experiences and took suggestions from the audience to create poetry and songs about love including the topics of friendship, heartbreak, the love we have for our pets and the love of art.

Although they perform in different art forms, Vasser-Elong, Maness and Amburgey all said improvisation is necessary to create their art.

“Improvisation to me is the act of letting yourself go and trusting yourself…being with yourself as an artist or as a person,” shared Vasser-Elong.

Maness offered his perspective, “It’s all about communication, listening, being connected with the people you’re on stage with, the people in the audience and the universes. You have to prepare to be present. That’s a real thrill and it’s very fun.”

Amburgey added, “You’re able to make connections with people you wouldn’t always be able to otherwise.”

Vasser-Elong, Maness and Amburgey had never performed together, but their collaboration and improvisation created a fun night for the audience including those deeply in love, embittered by love and everyone in between.

Before the final song about candy hearts (a suggestion from the audience), Vasser-Elong shared how other art forms impact his artistry.

“I find something inspirational in a painting or a picture that I just can’t get on my own. There’s a certain eye a visual artist has that I don’t have. I appreciate every art form because what makes us artists is what makes us different than everybody else. Whatever it is, I respect it because I know how much went into it.”

The Arts and Education Council’s next Catalyst Conversation is Spring into Innovation (March 19), a discussion on art and technology with  Allyson Ditchey of Connect the Arts and Sheila Burkett of Spry Digital. Tickets are free, but registration is required.

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