Last Friday, Oakland held its very first CreativeMornings breakfast. Since 2008, artists have been meeting up over coffee and breakfast for inspiring talks by creative leaders and to connect with like-minded individuals. This free monthly event has rapidly gained momentum and taken off in seventy-one cities worldwide, with an Oakland chapter as its newest addition.

February’s CreativeMornings talk was delivered by Tony Calzaretta, Creative Director at Pandora, on the 16th floor of the Webster St. Pandora headquarters. The morning’s theme was ‘rebel’ and Calzaretta’s talkCrossing Guards, Hip Hop, the Hammond B3, Dragons, and Negative Capability — chronicled his rebellious journey to find success in the arts.  He revealed the requirements: hard work, setting your own path, consistent inner growth, and perhaps most importantly, getting out of your own way, declaring ”we’re our own limiters of how far we can go.”

Calzaretta spoke with Oakland Local after his talk about the rewards of working in Oakland. “It’s exciting to be here,” he said. Unlike San Francisco, “the financial structure allows artists to live in Oakland. It’s genuine…. The streets are full of energy.” He mentioned events, bars, artists, and musicians contributing to the city’s vibrancy, and the unique “intersection of technology and creativity” birthing companies like Pandora that shake up established industries. Of working at Pandora, Calzaretta told the crowd: “it’s a wild ride–it’s a roller coaster.” Perhaps that could be said of all creative careers and the recent surge of changes in Oakland’s landscape.

Oakland CreativeMornings organizer Ivan Lima shared his excitement about the event’s positive ripple effect in communities. “When people have the opportunity to share ideas,” he said, “we get more talent, which leads to more jobs. More music, more business — we all benefit.”

Lima’s enthusiasm for Oakland was visible in all aspects of the event, from the Farley’s coffee, to the Oaklandish scarf sported by DJ Dion Decibels (spinning at 8:30am!), to the diverse crowd of young local creatives, to the camera crew from Oakland School for the Arts (which is scheduled to be next month’s CreativeMornings host).

This free — and packed — event jolted the room wide awake with a blast of spirited inspiration, boding well for the monthly series’ future of attracting an artistic crowd and building up Oakland’s creative community.

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