Episode 28 – Erin Wilbanks and Paul Gernetzke: Connecting Creatives in Redlands

In today's interview, we brought together two members of The Guild in Redlands, CA. The Guild is a group of creative people who meet to support and help each other. On the first Wednesday of each month, Augies Coffeehouse in Redlands is swamped with creative people of different formats and from various walks of life. The two people we have talking with us today are key members of the Guild.

Erin Wilbanks handles all the social media promotion for the Guild, and Paul Gernetzke handles much of the design of the website and other aspects. Other members also work together knowing that when one creative person helps another creative person, the creative world comes alive with joy and singing.

The purpose of The Guild is to build a community of creatives to find information and ideas from each other.

I then asked who can be a member of the Guild. Is it just artists and photographers, or are there other types of creatives?

Creativity can be applied to any field.
— Paul Gernetzke

There is no set criteria for being part of the Guild. Not everyone who is creative makes a living with their talents. As a matter of fact, while Erin does make money with her photography, her full time job is with the VA Hospital. Erin's motivation and inspiration with photography is her love of exploring. Both Paul and Erin agreed that the Inland Empire is a perfect living environment for creatives.

We can be at the beach and see snow in the mountains on the same day.
— Erin Wilbanks
The access you have from the Inland Empire makes it a great place to live – you can get to the mountains and to the ocean, and to the desert within just a couple of hours.
— Paul Gernetzke

Paul and Erin explained that the idea behind the Guild came from a 1930s and 40s group that met in England, and were associated with the University of Oxford. They were called The Inklings; a group of writers and literary enthusiasts who came together to support each other. It seems some of these writers claimed inspiration for some of their best works all because they met with other writers.

In today's interview you will learn more about Erin, Paul and the Guild.

Erin works magic with photography on her iPhone; Paul found inspiration in art and design when he traveled to South Africa. He started the Global Art and Design Project because of that trip, and has been inspired to fund art scholarships in South Africa. Paul also has his own art and design website called Loka.

What I understood from speaking with Erin and Paul is that the primary mission of the Guild is to build the confidence of creatives all throughout the Inland Empire. It just seems that too many of the highly creative residents do not give themselves enough credit for the talents and abilities they have.

The Inland Empire has an underdog mentality
— Paul Gernetzke

It really does not matter what type of creative talents you have. Maybe you are a poet, a flower arranger, a comedian, or you make paper maché figurines; whatever talent a person has, the Guild welcomes all. Always on the first Wednesday of every month at 6:30 PM at Augie's Coffeehouse in Redlands. The Guild has speakers for these meetings, and just consider the Guild's Vision:

Our vision is to see a sustainable and thriving community of creatives in the Inland Empire. We envision relationships in which people are free to be honest, to wrestle with life together, to support and challenge each other and to spur each other on in their creativity and craft.
— The Guild

Opening Music: "The Red One" by John Scofield and Pat Metheny off their album I Can See Your House From Here

Closing Music: "Magic Beans"  by Peter Mayer off the album Million Year Mind