• Ally Marman

Inspiration comes from all around you

Updated: May 21, 2019

When I set out to establish my own production company, I knew one thing - I needed inspiration. For several years leading up to this, I had been in an industry that thrived on a factory line approach to art. One person 10 years ago discovered you could glue foam pumpkins to a board and carve on them to create neat looking props. From that single idea more than 15 shows were born, including The Glow. It was a good concept but it was done to death.

When Dogwood Event Design came to fruition, I had one artist in mind that I knew I just had to have on my team. Not all artists are created equal, not even the good ones. I needed vision, creativity and fluid talent. Matthew had it all and when he agreed to be on my team, I was thrilled. Over the last few years he and I have developed some absolutely crazy ideas but - if I am being totally honest here - the best ideas haven't been ours. The best ideas came from my kids.

The first project I wanted to tackle was Adventures in Wonderland - an interactive playground style event that we hosted in NY, PA and DC over 2 years. The event was designed around the classic tale of Alice in Wonderland but the actual inspiration was all due to my then 5 year old twins.

Back in the fall of 2017, my family was visiting me in DC during The Glow. As my husband and I walked through the beautiful night trail I found myself saying over and over again to my kids "don't do that, don't touch that". It was hard for them to understand that they had to stay on the path when this was a show they had seen built for 9 months. When they visited the shop, they played and touched but here, in DC, they couldn't.

Later that night, as we unwound in the pool at the hotel, I asked my kids what they thought of the show. Their response: "It was pretty but I wish we could have played more". There it was. The ultimate inspiration. They didn't care about all the pumpkins, or the lights, or the music. They wanted to play. They wanted to climb and touch.

And so, a few weeks later I sat in my kitchen, laptop out, laying out the idea for a kids event that let kids PLAY with everything. For weeks I would shout out ideas to my kids for a reaction as the idea came to be..."what about logs you can climb on that are super tall?" "Oh, yea that would be fun"...."how about a slide built into a tree trunk?" "Totally, but can we climb on the outside too"....

And so, Adventures in Wonderland became a reality

#inspiration #tips


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