When artist Mark Keller took the stage in the auditorium of Fifth Third Center at One SeaGate on Friday night, he had one demand: He needed three volunteers.
After laughs from a hesitant audience, he finally persuaded a few volunteers to approach him, with the promise of prizes.
Mr. Keller asked each one to describe something they recently saw that was “spectacular.” As he passed the microphone to each participant, he also told his own story about starting his own mixed-media art company, 11th Dimension Collections of Toledo.
“All this started a couple years ago with a sheet of paper, and I knew it would get to this point,” he said. “I feel like we as people become what we surround ourselves with. I like to surround myself with artwork.”
Mr. Keller’s presentation was part of the evening’s kickoff event, “Inspiration STAYCATION.” The annual party, which includes presentations and art, was organized by the PRIZM Creative Community, an area educational and arts nonprofit organization.
The aim was to educate the public about upcoming summer art and writing classes that are available through the organization.
Annette Jensen, PRIZM’s executive director, said this year’s event merged creativity and health.
“Creativity is an integral part of our lives,” she told an auditorium audience of about 40 people. “For one thing, we have found that creativity is a form of stress release and therapy and very much part of a healthy lifestyle.”
Ms. Jensen said the ability for artists to “think outside the box” is becoming more critical. “We live in a global society these days,” she said. “We’re seeing things change.”
PRIZM also hosted an Art-A-Fair exhibition during the 3½-hour event. The art in the show — on display in the lobby of One SeaGate in downtown Toledo until June 26 — will include more than 200 pieces by local artists.
Other presenters Friday included staff members and representatives from EPIC Toledo, the Women’s Entrepreneurial Network, the Toledo Whole Food Nutrition Meetup, the area chapter of The Weston Price Foundation, Ukazoo Books, and speed painter Klaire Russell.
All presentations were done in PechaKucha style, which means that each presenter was allowed only 20 slides, each to be presented in 20 seconds.
PechaKucha means “chit-chat” in Japanese, and Toledo resident Kim Adams organizes quarterly networking events that utilize the same style of communication. PechaKucha Nights were started in Tokyo in 2003 as a way for young designers to network and meet.
PRIZM board member Gloria McAlear said the event is aimed at bringing people in the area together and fostering community.
“If you’re creative, then you don’t have to buy into the rules that everyone else does. You can bend them. You can turn them around,” she said.
Mr. Keller’s philosophy about crafting mixed-media artwork also embraces making up individualized rules.
“I tend to put a lot of thought, inspiration into my work. Whatever gets the message across, I’m happy with what it is,” he said. “I have fun doing all of these.”
For more information, visit www.myprizm.com.