Salons for Life produces small format evenTs called salons for those invested in self-education and community

A three-hour “learning retreat” for people to gather, listen, engage in reciprocal exchange- of our stories, the wisdom of lived experiences and the explosive impact of intentional communities in responsibly stewarding change.

- Founding vision for Salons for Life

Katherine Szekely & Nirupa Umapathy on the founding vision of Salons for Life


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So What is a Salon exactly?

Besides a place to cut your hair???

Literally, sa·lon - a reception room in a large house

Formatted as micro-retreats, the salons are creative and community breaks with arts, storytelling and facilitated conversation to unlock self-education through content and community. The arts include music, dance, live theater, poetry, design and the visual arts.

Twenty or so people gather in a room. A theme for the evening is set. An artist or a storyteller starts us off with a performance— an immersive piece that brings us in the present, something to feed our imagination and curiosity.

Facilitated to be participatory where one story leads to the next, what results is an intimate, shared experience where we have come, gathered and exchanged personal histories as practitioners of our lives. The salons are a celebration of lived experiences.

inspiration

Our salons are inspired by the salons of the French Enlightenment. At a time when women did not have access to university, the salonnieres of the French Enlightenment (circa 17-18th centuries) transformed the living room into social spaces that catalyzed a network of ideas and self-education.

Mission

To Learn and Lead from the Inside-Out

Each salon is facilitated to activate self-education and self-expression as a leadership tool in a shared experience. Leading inside-out starts with learning— about self and our place in the world. And choices that we make to resource a life by design, not default.

Salon Jersey City.  Displeyst . Caroline Peters of  Infinite Variety Productions. January 2019. photo by Harry Perales

Salon Jersey City. Displeyst. Caroline Peters of
Infinite Variety Productions. January 2019. photo by Harry Perales

The Salon Manifesto

Come as you are. To be seen and heard is a fundamental birth right. In a world polarized by competing agendas and information overload, we have to intentionally and respectfully create spaces where we can unapologetically be ourselves in our diversity and multiplicity, collectively in our similarities and differences.

Why now?

Demographics + Technology + Economics + Climate = Exponential Change. Personhood and belonging are at stake.

We are acutely feeling the effects of a split social fabric and consciousness. Spaces for sharing, reflection and co-creation are needed to sustain the connective tissue of of self within the social fabric. Tapping into our innate capacity for creativity and collaboration, the salons activate individual and collective voice and visibility.

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What is unique about this format? 

Experiential and immersive, the salons use the power of storytelling and play to activate knowledge creation and sharing through a more visceral and embodied engagement. Each salon unpacks a conversation and/or a facilitated workshop that keys into a line of investigation.

Salon San Francisco. Inside Out. Farah Yasmeen Shaikh. September 2018. photo by Ajoy Advani

Salon San Francisco. Inside Out. Farah Yasmeen Shaikh. September 2018. photo by Ajoy Advani

The Curriculum

In the salons both content and community are curriculum. Learning is activated through a headline speaker or storyteller. And co-created as a composite of the wisdom of lived experiences of participants. 

Curriculum investigates the basis of creativity as a fundamental human-trait, self-enquiry and resourcing our lives responsibly through literacy— Financial and Mind-Body-Energy.

Salons for the Workplace

Every salon from subject matter to storyteller is curated to the overarching learning mission of a host or a sponsor.

Salons can be differentiated programming to build affinity amongst employees. A format for networking without the agenda of transacting replacing it with instead, with an intention of sharing and fostering a connection through the creative activation of a shared experience.

The salon as the new employee happy hour, the salon as an inclusive on-site off-site for teams, the salon as a new gathering place for affinity and employee resource groups, the ideas are endless.

“The Salons are a crossover experience – life, meets art and practice, in my experience. As a regular participant, I have found new ways to engage, to reflect, strategize for living better while making strong connections. This is truly enlightened in that it is not a boilerplate cocktail or rushed networking experience, but afternoons committed to self-discovery and forging new bonds. Am grateful to have grown through these afternoons, and to be a part of a burgeoning community that prioritizes connection and enlightenment, with self and others.” Shreya J. Financial Services. Salon Advisor & Arts Supporter

 
Salon Jersey City.  Poetic Graffiti.  Multiple Artists. March 2019. photo by Bobby Hranichny

Salon Jersey City. Poetic Graffiti. Multiple Artists. March 2019. photo by Bobby Hranichny

Salon Jersey City.  Displeyst.  Caroline Peters of Infinite Variety Productions. January 2019

Salon Jersey City. Displeyst. Caroline Peters of Infinite Variety Productions. January 2019

“To be yourself - unflinchingly is a gift in this world.” Anu Mahadev, Editor. Poet

I would like to host. What is required of a host?

Salons can be hosted in the privacy of a living room or in a public-private setting such as a restaurant, a gallery or a work-space, a space that is typically open to the public but offering a level of seclusion and privacy.

Hosts share our mission and are active friends of the arts, committed to learning, community building and invested in the power of storytelling.

 
Poet, writer Anu Mahadev at Salon Come as You Are, Jersey City, NJ, June 2018. Photo by Nirupa Umapathy

Poet, writer Anu Mahadev at Salon Come as You Are, Jersey City, NJ, June 2018. Photo by Nirupa Umapathy

Be an investor of your life. Come be part of a learning journey at a salon near you.

Salon Seattle. Cumulating Story featuring Galen Garwood. July 2018. photo by James Arzente

Salon Seattle. Cumulating Story featuring Galen Garwood. July 2018. photo by James Arzente

Barkha Patel . Salon In Motion. River Brook, NJ. 10.21.2018. photo by Bobby Hranichny

Barkha Patel . Salon In Motion. River Brook, NJ. 10.21.2018. photo by Bobby Hranichny

Audience in salon. Poetic Graffiti. Jersey City, NJ. March 2019. photo by Bobby Hranichny

Audience in salon. Poetic Graffiti. Jersey City, NJ. March 2019. photo by Bobby Hranichny