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Free in WNY / Creativity and coffee with CMbuf

There are 181 Creative Mornings branches worldwide. The free breakfast talk series provides inspiration and information.

Photos by kc kratt


Everyone is creative. That’s the guiding principle behind CreativeMornings/Buffalo (CMbuf), a free monthly lecture series that brings together community members from across the area for breakfast and an inspiring talk. Buffalo is one of 181 cities on six continents with a CreativeMornings chapter, from Albuquerque to Amsterdam, Houston to Hong Kong, and Toronto to Tel Aviv.


Kelly Atkinson, the lead organizer for CMbuf, first found CreativeMornings in Edmonton, Alberta, when she and her partner were traveling frequently for work. “It was the energy of the event that kept us coming back and searching for it globally,” she recalls. “The attendees and organizers are the mainline to what’s going on in their city.”



Upon moving to Buffalo a few years ago, she sought out a local chapter—only to discover there wasn’t one. Undeterred, she and Beth Insalaco, another recent Buffalo transplant, teamed up to create one. CMbuf kicked off on March 18, 2016, to a full house, despite being bright and early the morning after St. Patrick’s Day. Edreys Wajed—a music and visual artist, jewelry maker, and business owner—delivered the rousing inaugural lecture, inspiring attendees to stop waiting for change to happen and pursue it themselves. Since then, speakers have included Karibu News founder Rubens Mukunzi, singer-songwriter Drea d’Nur, entrepreneur Zandra Cunningham, author and molecular biologist Gaia Amman, and Albright-Knox public art curator Aaron Ott.


“CMbuf speakers have an authentic story that weaves into the fabric of this greater story of Buffalo’s vibrancy that we’re sharing locally and, in turn, with the world,” says Atkinson. “We’ve seen authors talk about love, transparency, and equality, a chef talk about magic, a magician talk about moments, even a pastor on mystery.”



Held on the second Friday of each month, CMbuf has visited many locations throughout the city and is currently in residence at Hotel Henry. In addition, each lecture includes complimentary coffee from a local shop and often provides breakfast from partners like Lloyd, Private Knives, and Ru’s Pierogi.


“Every morning that comes together, I’m astounded by the creatives on our team volunteering their talent and time to build this, by the speakers who’re willing and vulnerable and honest on stage, by the partners who believe in this project’s vision, and really, by the community that wakes up early with us to learn from and share with each other,” Atkinson says.



Organized by a team of about fifteen volunteers, each event aims to inspire creativity from those in attendance.


“By creativity, I don’t necessarily mean the common mindset of you’re going to leave the event motivated to paint a masterpiece,” Atkinson says. “Maybe you are, but maybe you’ll also approach a problem from a new angle, or have met a collaborator you hadn’t considered before, or just see the day differently, fresher. We do this because we hope everyone will leave the way we do: more open, more energized, more engaged in our city.”


To view past talks or register for the next one, visit creativemornings.com/buf.   


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