Catalyst Interview Series: Lewis James
Knight Creative Community Institute (KCCI): How did you get involved with KCCI?
Lewis James (LJ): My boss, Bryan Desloge, was a KCCI Catalyst the year before me and so it was through him that I became interested in KCCI.
KCCI: What made you decide to apply?
LJ: Bryan is huge on giving back to the community and he felt that I would be a good candidate for the KCCI initiative, ultimately encouraging me to apply.
KCCI: What was the goal behind Explore Outdoors?
LJ: The overarching goal for the Explore Outdoors project was to promote Tallahassee as a destination for outdoor activities and to support an active lifestyle. We worked with Visit Tallahassee in an effort to engage and educate visitors and residents on the outdoor recreation that the Big Bend has to offer.
KCCI: How did the promotion of outdoor activities and an active lifestyle play a role in creating sense of place?
LJ: Promoting outdoor activities and an active lifestyle opened the door to those who seek recreational fulfillment in their community. It offers a completely new reason for people to want to stay in Tallahassee and engage with others in the great outdoors, ultimately fulfilling their needs to engage in such opportunities as the Abandoned Fields Adventure Race.
KCCI: What was your favorite part of working on this initiative?
LJ: The many new people I was able to meet and connect with. Through the Explore Outdoor project we conducted the first Abandoned Fields Adventure Race in 2011 in which I had the opportunity to meet so many amazing people who came out to participate in the race. I also grew very close to those on my Catalyst team while working on this initiative, many who I still keep in touch with today.
KCCI: What is the most important thing you learned from your time with KCCI
LJ: How to think outside of the box. Thinking of ideas that would set Tallahassee apart from other places or created a “sense of place” was a challenge for me at first because I have lived here all my life, but once I started collaborating with the other team members it became less challenging and more fun for me to think outside of the box.
KCCI: What are some of your favorite places in Tallahassee?
LJ: Whenever I have family come into town I always take them to Gaines Street, the FSU stadium is a must, and Tom Brown Park is a personal favorite.
KCCI: Who should apply to be a KCCI Catalyst?
LJ: Someone who is open-minded, not afraid to express their ideas and can work well with a team. It really is a great opportunity to do something different and allow yourself to explore your more creative side, while also giving back to the community.