20 Sep 2016

Nantucket Creative Genius

Einstein has been credited with saying, “creativity is seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought.” I’m certainly no genius, but I might suggest taking Mr. Einstein’s assessment one step further. Creativity is also doing what no one else has done…or at least doing it with your own personal flare. It’s easy to know when you’re in the presence of people of true creativity. Their zest for life and unique perspective makes others want to jump on their bandwagon, tap into our own innovative talents and tell everyone we know about the person or people who are inspiring us. As Einstein also said, “creativity is contagious – pass it on!”
Nantucket is one of those rare places that brings out the creative genius in all of us. Because the topography and scenery look like a painting – from the rolling sand dunes, to the crashing waves, the majestic Captain’s mansions to the cobblestone streets – we’re so captivated on a daily basis that we want to write it down, paint a scene, sketch a landscape or craft song lyrics. In short, the island inspires us to tap into the best of who we are and discover talents we didn’t know we had. She makes us better.
For others, the Grey Lady inspires truly unconventional ingenuity. The scene in the photo was taken on the front lawn of a homeowner along Hummock Pond Road. For years (until recently) this nice local man has displayed his handmade metal art sculptures. They are fun, whimsical and truly unique. But it’s more than his art that conveys his imaginative spirit. On any given day, passersby will find the artist standing on his lawn or across the road on the Cisco bike path with a bottle of soapsuds blowing bubbles across the road. He elicits honks, waves, thumbs-up and smiles – always smiles. This simple (and seemingly silly) gesture is anything but – this lovely man is using his gifts to bring joy to those in his midst. I’m pretty sure that’s the golden rule and the true definition of creativity.
Another young man also won the “creative genius” award in my mind this summer. Have you heard about “Stand in Sam?” Sam is a 13 year-old who recognized that people were standing in line in various locations waiting for restaurant reservations. He tapped into his entrepreneurial spirit, developed a website and launched a business offering to stand in line for others for a fee so they can head to the beach or spend their day shopping. Sam’s website ( says, “I hope I can make your stay on Nantucket a little better.” This young man understands the golden rule on multiple levels. A friend of mine says her dad always told her “identify the talent you’ve been given, decide what it is you love to do and then figure out a way to get paid for it.” Stand in Sam gets it.
There are numerous ways to get inspired and discover or refine your talent on Nantucket. Take a painting or sketch class at The Artists Association of Nantucket, sign up for a few basket weaving sessions with Peter Finch, learn to play a musical instrument at the Nantucket Music Center or simply grab a bottle of bubbles and spread some joy.
Pass it on.
Shellie Dunlap 
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