On Saturday, September 12 the Washington Center for Performing Arts will host the first TEDx event in downtown Olympia. The full-day event features local speakers and performers, and a few regional talents from Seattle and Spokane.
TEDxOlympia is a locally produced, one-day TED event. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design—three broad subject areas that are collectively shaping our world. The ‘x’ stands for independently produced events licensed by TED. TED is a nonprofit that provides general guidance, but individual TEDx events entirely self-organized.
Olympia’s first downtown TEDx is organized by Meg O’Leary, an Olympia resident and employee of the Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office.
“I want to celebrate local ideas and encourage community connection,” O’Leary explained. She applied for a license from TED in her free time, gathered a team of local curators, and began seeking speakers. Her team has experience in speaker coaching, video production, set design and fundraising to help bring this community event to life.
“I’m excited about our speaker lineup. We started with about 60 nominations, and after 20 auditions the team selected 12 speakers.”
One of those speakers is Keith Edgerton, the Sustainability Coordinator at St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia. “I’ll talk about how becoming legally blind at 35 turned out to be one of the greatest things that ever happened to me”.
All speaker topics are intended to spur community conversation. “We will hear ideas related to homelessness, right livelihood, and urban planning”, according to O’Leary.
The talks are interspersed with live entertainment. Performances feature contemporary circus artist Sara Sparrow of Sparrow Studios, and musician Maggie Neatherlin and her One-Man Orchestra (jazz guitarist Vince Brown).
“I believe we need to ask different questions, and TED is a great forum for that,” O’Leary said. “I hope the talks inspire people to ask what is possible—in their lives, communities and the world.”