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Kalamadoodle: an Opportunity to Meet and Create

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Kalamadoodle

Artist, designer, and small business owner Mike Klok is on a journey to harness creative thinking in the Kalamazoo community. He has always used his imagination and learned by doing, and the creation of Kalamadoodle reflects that.

The brainchild of Klok, and former partner Nick Clark, Kalamadoodle has gained popularity since its inception in 2014.

"I never thought that we'd have more than 15 people doodling at any given event," Klok said. "We now draw anywhere from 60-100."

Kalamadoodle started as a "drink and draw" to bring people out to the local breweries and to provide a regular gathering for creative people. As people sit and talk, they can try a craft beer, and doodle on the paper-covered tables using the provided crayons, markers, and colored pencils. There is usually no theme, so custom coloring sheets provide a jump start.

The idea for the event was first sketched in Klok's notebook in 2013. He graduated from the WMU Haworth College of Business in 2012 where he studied marketing and advertising. Prior to that, his two and a half years at Kalamazoo Valley Community College were well spent taking art, new media classes and general studies.

"I always knew that I wanted to be on the creative side of advertising," Klok said. Following graduation, he created artwork for t-shirts, then headed to Detroit to find a job in advertising. It didn’t take long for him to figure out that he wanted to return to Kalamazoo. "The cost of living here is more reasonable, and you can introduce new ideas in a creative community like Kalamazoo."

When Klok returned, he worked for Kalamazoo College in publications. As he worked and applied the education and design know-how with the business knowledge from his degree, the ideas kept evolving on how he wanted to impact the community. The idea for Kalamadoodle was still in his sketchbook, and in the back of his mind.

Kalamazoo is known for craft beer, so it seemed like a natural place to start for Klok and Clark.

"There is a creative process with craft beer - this kind of event pays respect to the culture of creating craft beer," said Klok.

The monthly event has rotated through various Kalamazoo breweries, and has held doodling events at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art twice.

And Kalamadoodle continues to branch out - in March they partnered with the Kalamazoo Community Foundation, Boatyard Brewing, and Imagine Kalamazoo 2025.

On April 20, Kalamadoodle held an event at Arcadia Ales and
kept the momentum going. More than 60 people were there to doodle, ranging from families to college students, to artists and those who just want to get out and mingle.

One participant, Barb Roan moved to Kalamazoo from Pennsylvania in January for a Graphic Design position with Newell Rubbermaid.

Already, she has attended three Kalamadoodle events to doodle with co-workers and meet new people. "I am learning what a warm community this is," said Roan.

Klok is paying attention to what he hears at events, and the evaluations from community people. He is also exploring all future aspects of planning and promoting Kalamadoodle. Currently his design business, Stuffed Brain Studios, along with a number of dedicated volunteers, make the events happen.

"We were never looking to make a lot of money, but start-ups are not cheap," said Klok. Watch the website for more information on the future endeavors of Kalamadoodle and for ways to enjoy and support it!

Then join them at their May 18 Kalamadoodle, at Rupert's Brew House and start a conversation!

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