Join us at ConfabuLarryum: a community celebration of creativity, making and innovation

“Start thinking about creativity as the new literacy.”

It’s a powerful concept, and one Callahan’s Executive Creative Director Tug McTighe wrote about in a recent post on strengthening your creative muscles. The quote came from an impassioned keynote speech given by renowned photographer Chase Jarvis at SXSW.

Coincidentally, it was hearing Chase deliver a similar message at Big Omaha in May of 2014 that was behind my personal inspiration for creating ConfabuLarryum – a community festival of creativity, making and innovation that Callahan hosts in partnership with the Lawrence Public Schools. At Big Omaha, where he also described creativity as the new literacy, he added that it could be “the solution to every problem the world has ever known or ever will know.”

Just prior to last year’s ConfabuLarryum event, I hosted the Resilient Summit, a conference focused on the Collaborative Economy. One of the speakers at the conference was Mark Hatch, co-founder of Tech Shop and author of The Maker Manifesto. Mark spoke about “a nation of makers” and the powerful impact and opportunity presented through embracing the Maker Movement. This idea had been weighing on my mind, and I’d been giving a lot of thought to the concept that making, creativity and innovation need to be encouraged in the home, empowered collaboratively in the classroom and taken forward in to the workplace.

Through this inspiration, a partnership with the Lawrence Public Schools, and the willingness of Callahan’s leadership to invest in supporting the event, ConfabuLarryum was born, and in August of 2014, something very special took place…

That first year, more than 1,300 members of the community joined us for a day filled with creativity, making and innovation – everything from traditional arts and crafts to high-tech robotics, 3D printing, coding classes and more. It was an incredible day with dozens of activities, workshops, and presentations catering to kids, families, educators and entrepreneurs.

Something I believe now more than ever after that first event is simply this: a creative community is a stronger community. At a business level, we see the results of this on a daily basis at Callahan as we strive to live out our stated value of being a community of thinkers and makers.

This year, ConfabuLarryum will take place on August 15 at South Middle School in Lawrence. We’ll have all of last year’s favorite activities plus many more – and all will give attendees the opportunity to participate hands-on instead of simply watching demonstrations.

We’ve expanded our technology agenda by adding virtual reality and drones and will feature more robotics and coding. We’ve also added entirely new sessions focused on physical activities, including sports and creative dance. Three regional maker studios will be participating: Lawrence Creates Maker Spacethe Maker Studio at Science City KC and Lawrence Center for Entrepreneurship. We’ll have valuable workshops covering everything from working with Raspberry Pi and digital animation to stage makeup and LEGO Serious Play. There will also be another fantastic lineup of speakers and topics, including sessions focused specifically on creativity in the classroom and in entrepreneurship.

The event remains 100% free to attend thanks to our partnership with the Lawrence Public Schools, the tremendous support of the Lawrence community and the participation of those who travel here from other areas to host activities, workshops and presentations.

We invite you to join us and see firsthand just how powerful raw, unleashed creativity can be. You’ll find all the event information and latest updates on event schedules on the ConfabuLarryum Facebook Page.


At a Glance:

Date and Time: Saturday, August 15, 2015, from 9am to 2pm

Location: South Middle School, 2734 Louisiana Street, Lawrence

Cost: Free to attend, no registration required. (Concessions will be available for purchase.)

Event Website:

Family Friendly: Activities for kids of all ages and for adults

Who Should Attend: The event focuses on inspiring creativity in the home, classroom and workplace. Activities and presentations are themed for kids, parents, teachers and educators, makers, entrepreneurs, innovators, and members of the business community.

Event Hosts: Lawrence Public Schools and Callahan


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