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April 19, 2016

The Next 20: Zach Berman

The Next 20: Zach Berman

This year is ArtStarts' 20th Anniversary. As we celebrate our accomplishments and impact, we are also inspired to think ahead about what the next 20 years hold for young people. What role can art and creativity play to support our next generation to thrive in the future?

To help us explore this question, we sat down with 20 community leaders across different sectors and asked them to share their story and thoughts on the relevance of art and creativity. Over 20 weeks, we'll share these stories with you. We hope that they will inspire you to join our community of supporters so that together we can continue to build a bright future for BC's young people.


This week's Next 20 community builder is Zach Berman. Zach is the co-founder and co-owner of The Juice Truck. Zach studied painting at Emily Carr University prior to starting The Juice Truck in 2011 and subsequently opening a brick and mortar location in 2014. He was voted as one of the Top 30 Under 30 by BC Business in 2014 and truly values sustainability, community and creativity.

How do you define creativity?

Creativity is about being open to possibility and having the willingness to explore that possibility. It is about being willing to look at things from a different perspective and exploring options beyond might be the most obvious choice.

What does creativity look like in your life?

My work is all about creating and problem solving. Whether I am creating a new smoothie or salad recipe or developing and executing a social media plan I always need to look at things from multiple perspectives and consider multiple points of view. I try to imagine different problems and different outcomes for different people. Since founding the Juice Truck my creativity has a lot more structure to it. My approach has changed, as rather than waiting for an idea to happen I now work to make it happen.

What sparks your curiosity?

Everything. I'm naturally a very curious person. When you scroll for a minute on the internet there's a zillion ideas and thoughts at your fingertips. With this overload of influence, you need to find an outlet that allows your mind to be free so you can have space to make connections and develop your own thoughts and ideas. I turn to nature for this. When I go for a walk I spend time in contemplation and allow my thoughts to take many tangents and this gives my curiosity space to grow.

What do you think supports the development of creativity?

Allowing space for it. Acknowledging that creativity has value and giving yourself time to nurture that. Saying yes rather than saying no. I think when you're open-minded there's a lot more possibility to what you can achieve than if you have a preconceived notion of what something is. You're limiting yourself from the get go.

What inhibits the development of creativity?

Being stuck in your ways and having preconceived notions of how you think things should or should not be. Fear also inhibits the development of creativity. I think a lot of people make decisions based on fear rather than hope or love or compassion.

In your opinion, what is the purpose of school?

School is about gaining exposure to a wide range of material and about making learning a conducive experience. It is also about making connections with people and learning to navigate social situations.

What skills do young people need to thrive in the future?

I believe in the importance of working hard and having a strong work ethic. This needs to be promoted in young people so that they feel empowered to be ambitious and feel they are able to achieve what they want to achieve. I also believe in the importance of looking to our history to see what we can learn. Our First Nations have such an incredible history and many important teachings to share. Our grandparents also have an important history that relates to a time that we don't understand anymore. I think connecting to history, whether it's your own family history or world history, gives you answers for the future.

Any specific advice for young people today?

My advice is to go for it. We all have dreams and aspirations but we often hold ourselves back. You just need to go for it. Making an idea happen may not be as simple as going from A to B, there can be a million steps in between, so you need to be willing to work hard, really hard. There may also be failure, but if you put yourself in the position to say yes and be positive, I think you can do anything.

 


At ArtStarts in Schools, we want to ensure that young people across British Columbia have opportunities to develop their passions and creative potential and to build skills to thrive in the next 20 years—and beyond.

You can help us realize our vision by donating today and joining our community of supporters.

Learn more about ArtStarts in Schools and the work we do and discover additional ways you can show your support.

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