Just as your Art Basel hangover begins to fade, you’re facing another art-stuffed weekend. Saturday is Art Walk in Wynwood, which may be too much to handle for anyone still tasting Krylon after last week’s burst of street art opportunism. Luckily, there’s an alternative to the N.W. Second Avenue circus. U-Doodle, a Miami-based non-profit that builds community through collaborative doodling, is throwing a party at the LAB that will feature body painting, interactive chalkboard art and collaborations with Doodlers Anonymous and Sktchy, the creators of our favorite artsy iPhone app. With live art, free entry and cheap drinks (proceeds benefiting U-Doodle’s ongoing Indiegogo campaign), this party is your opportunity to quit art gazing and get your hands chalky. Ahead of the event, I traded emails with U-Doodle’s Jordan Magid to learn more about the Dao of the Doodle.
In brief, what’s the U-Doodle story?
Around two years ago I caught my friend Marc Fruitema doodling during one of our afternoon talks at the University of Miami. At first I was thrown off guard by the distraction. But once we noticed our shared impulse to doodle in class, the idea to add onto each other’s spontaneous drawings came alive.
We built a box for people to anonymously exchange and add to random new doodles. And, naturally, an active community grew around it. Within the next few months our “Doodle Box” evolved into a public space where you create art, meet new people and imagine the possibilities for building healthy communities.
By the end of the first year we were awarded “Best New Student Organization” at the University of Miami. Within two years, we took our activities into public schools — places where creativity and collaboration are needed most. Now U-Doodle runs workshops and public art projects, using collaborative doodling as an essential tool for community building.
Why should adults take time out of their busy lives to doodle?
Scientists say: Doodling promotes concentration and increases information retention by up to 29%. Plus, doodling puts you in a state of flow which is one of the essential keys to happiness.
Historians say: Doodling is the pre-cursor to and the catalyst for some of the most important breakthroughs in science, art, architecture, engineering, technology and medicine. You name it, it started with a doodle.
Sociologists say: Doodling is the most non-elitist and accessible way to express your individuality. Since we can all do it, doodling together is the most seamless way to “break the ice” in a high-tension workspace or school.
Psychologists say: Doodling is an entry point to your creativity. Once you access that bit of your mind, the possibilities to transform your life are infinite.
Everybody says: Doodling is a relaxing, casual and natural way to make life awesome.
What’s your grand vision for U-Doodle and how would a successful fundraising campaign help that?
My grand vision for U-Doodle includes spaces in every city across the world for people of all backgrounds to gather, feel entirely comfortable rethinking their communities’ needs and creating the solutions in a hands-on collaborative way. Think town hall + playground + workspace. For everybody.
A successful fundraising campaign helps us (1) partner our existing University of Miami organization with at least three local public schools, (2) fully activate three new university chapters along the east coast and (3) create a professional training program for volunteers/facilitators to be high-impact leaders in their community. When each of these happens, U-Doodle can and will become the space where all of them connect.
What’s your favorite U-Doodle experience?
Last year we partnered with a huge University of Miami event called FunDay — basically a full day of activities for special needs citizens to have a blast. The highlight was giving everybody, regardless of their background or talents, a space where their expression is valued and where our volunteers can listen with so much attention. So many of us don’t understand how blessed we are when it comes to expressing ourselves. Yet, too many of us are afraid of making a mistake or being vulnerable and hold our imaginations back.
That day, I witnessed the most genuine feelings of joy and creativity. Nearly every single person who stopped by seized the opportunity to be creative with no hesitation. Those creative opportunities are all around us. So why aren’t we taking them, making them ours and bringing them to life?
Why should I go to the U-Doodle party at the LAB during Art Walk when there are so many other things going on in Wynwood that night?
Instead of just standing at a distance staring at art, let your inspirations run free and create the art. There is no other event in Miami inviting you to literally create the party. The U-Doodle party is the first of its kind — a blend between a dance party, art studio, gallery space and hangout spot for the most creative people in Miami to unite. Plus, cheap drinks and the funkiest music always beats roaming the streets of Wynwood.