CARL ATIYA SWANSON

show up. do good work. make life interesting.

Consulting Work & Collaborative Projects

Action is the foundational key to all success.
— Pablo Picasso

If I had a chance to put up a billboard that I knew everyone would see, I’d put up one that says YOU ARE NOT ALONE. It’s how I believe we do our best work, live our best lives, and be our best selves. From consulting work supporting organizational strategic planning, to panel facilitation, to strategy for creatives, I love bringing my ability to synthesize, re-frame, and ideate to creative, mission-driven work. Be in touch, send an email to share what you or your organization need.

Consulting & Facilitation

One of the best facilitators I’ve experienced in years.
— Department of Public Transformation board member
I respect his lighthearted yet well-informed approach to working with groups to gain common ground and focus.
— Rourke Art Gallery + Museum board member

Theater and art-making are terrific training for creative meeting facilitation. Mix in strategic frameworks, planning, and governance experience, and that's a powerful combination for boards and organizations to reflect and imagine what's next. With creative exercises and games to get groups moving, thinking visually, representing relationships and issues, creative meeting facilitation had been a key part of my consulting practice. I have facilitated board retreats, committees and meetings for The Rourke Art Gallery + Museum, Department of Public Transformation, Northeast Minneapolis Arts Association, Americans for the Arts, Springboard for the Arts and the Young Nonprofit Professionals Network - Twin Cities – and I’d be happy to work with you, too. Drop a line!

Facilitating the Department of Public Transformation board retreat. Photo by Ashley Hanson.

Facilitating the Department of Public Transformation board retreat. Photo by Ashley Hanson.

Speaking & Panel Moderation

The formal practice of moderating panels and conversations requires curiosity, preparation, a quick wit, and a keen sense of timing. I have moderated panels on topics from arts entrepreneurship, the sober creative process, creative people power and strategic frameworks for organizations as varied Americans for the Arts, Colorado Creative Industries, Giant Steps, Generation Now Leadership Visit, Springboard for the Arts, Tarnish & Gold and more. If you’re looking to hire a creative speaker or engaging moderator, be in touch.

Facilitating for Charities Review Councils 2015 Forum.

Facilitating for Charities Review Councils 2015 Forum.

Strategy for Creatives

As a freelancer and as an entrepreneur with my boutique firm Crown & Sparrow, I’ve worked as an artist helping artists, telling great stories, lifting the burden of having to do your own promotion, and making cool stuff happen. Crown & Sparrow's first client in 2010 was Fort Wilson Riot, since then I’ve run press campaigns, created bios and promotional content, and worked on media strategy with artists like Chastity Brown, Zoo Animal, Laurie van Wieren, The Ericksons, Joey Ryan & the Inks and more. Focusing on working well and working collaboratively, the storytelling and work has led to plenty of local coverage, Daytrotter sessions, NPR features and packed shows.

Creative Exchange

Creative Exchange is a key part of my work at Springboard for the Arts. Launched in March 2014, Creative Exchange is a national storytelling and resource sharing platform for artists and communities. We highlight the work of artists, their creativity and their projects which bring communities together. We also host toolkits and resources which can be used by artists, community planners, local governments and others to find new ways to connect to artists and spark change. We recently launched Creative People Power, a new framework for artists and communities supporting each other.

Speaking at the opening of SpringBOX. Photo by  Sean Smuda

Speaking at the opening of SpringBOX. Photo by Sean Smuda

Dissonance

Dissonance is a network of creative people working to smash the stigma around mental health and addiction issues, and provide connection and support to the creative community. As a founding member of the board from 2015-2019, I helped produce events, web content, and resources at the intersection of creativity and community, doing public facing work around breaking stigmas and having honest conversations so that people feel better about private, really intimate work.

The Cake Shop

The Cake Shop is an ongoing house show project. It is designed to be an economic benefit for the artists, and give them an intimate setting to perform material with a supportive audience. For the attendees, it is a unique opportunity to see their favorite performers up close and connect more deeply. You can read more about it on the Local Current Blog. Previous performers include Jeremy Messersmith, Caroline Smith, Communist Daughter, Haley Bonar, Chastity Brown, the Pines and more.