Every Wednesday at 8 am, Palate Coffee on Colorado Avenue becomes a radiating hotbed of positivity and encouragement. A rotating cast of local women, all involved in some capacity with the World MUSE organization, meets at the coffee bar to share stories in an informal, but always optimistic, conversation. Topics range from urban homesteading to finding a good chiropractor, from book recommendations to inspiring non-profits.
This is MUSE's specialty, bringing women together to discuss their passions, plans and dreams and building a supportive community far beyond its first women's conference, a two-day event that took place at the Tower Theatre in March.
"When I went to the conference I didn't know what to expect," said Sweet Pea Cole, one of the women who helped organize the weekly meetups after the conference. "I left fired up from spending time listening and sharing stories about other women doing something that they love and are excited about."
This weekend, World MUSE will reunite conference participants for a weekend of sharing talent, creations and stories—big and small.
The World MUSE organization has undergone major changes this year, consolidating three nonprofits (MUSE, Shine Global, and Camp Catalyst) under one banner. To engage participants between major events, MUSE initiated programs like TEEN MUSE, an after-school and summer camp program that combines yoga, creative arts, group dialogue and service projects; and MUSE MAKERS, a program that offers small seed grants and mentoring opportunities to women and girls who are ready to create their own social change projects. This year MUSE MAKERS funded 15 projects including anti-female genital mutilation programs, social media campaigns that supported vocality for African girls, and health and sexual awareness training in Uganda. The group also continues to host more informal groups like the meetups at Palate. Last weekend, World MUSE was joined by Michael Franti for a yoga session and cruiser ride around the Old Mill District in support of its various causes.
World MUSE will host the third year of camp (formerly called Camp Catalyst) filled with yoga, creative workshops, healing arts classes and recreational opportunities at Caldera Arts Center, Aug. 23-25.
"I want to be inspired," said Cole.
Potential inspiration will come from a weekend of speakers and workshops including photographer Julie Keefe, authors Marianne Elliot and Naseem Rakha, songwriter Tracy Spring, yoga instructors Melody Moore and Kerri Kelly and Tererai Trent, a native Zimbabwean who closed the conference by sharing how she overcame a childhood of poverty and ignorance to become a scholar and author.
"It's about taking time," said Amanda Stuermer, one of the founders of World MUSE. "It's not just about the speakers and workshops and photographers, but it's powerful to connect with people in an authentic way. We want to make Bend an inspiration destination as well as a recreational destination."
World MUSE Camp
Caldara Arts Center, 31500 Blue Lake Dr., Sisters.