Graffiti Recognition Wall – a way to say thanks

Vancity Recognition Grafitti WallI was invited to Vancity’s Recognition Event by Yolanda from Drawing it Out to help facilitate a “Recognition Graffiti Wall”.

If you’ve never seen one (this was my first time), it went something like this.

A 24-foot by 8-foot wall was built especially for this project. Participants were invited to make a mark on the wall to recognize someone or something across the Vancity organization. People could draw, write, sign names, or ask Yolanda and I for help drawing if they wanted support. To get everyone started, Yolanda had pre-drawn a map of the Lower Mainland and city names on the wall.

This was a super fun activity. First, it’s not often I get to draw on a real wall. Secondly, there was a really high level of engagement. I could tell staff loved being part of Vancity. Nobody hesitated to thank someone. Staff and Board members recognized their team members, their managers, organizational goals such as diversity, making ‘good money’, and the work of the Foundation – enough to fill the entire 192 square feet. There was lots of laughing with friendly inter-branch rivalry (“Branch 6 is the best!” “Branch 13 rocks!”). My favorite was the corner where Branch 18 drew puppies to prove they were the best.

I noticed a few things about the process.

Having two graphic recorders there helped the activity run smoothly. We could juggle explaining the recognition aspect, field questions, and also encourage people that signing names and using symbols (like stars) was great. Secondly, having a few people with drawing skills elevates the final product from a wall of signed names to a wall that combines words and images. Third, I asked people who looked tentative, but curious, if they wanted to hold the marker for inspiration. Most people said yes, and then took a step closer to the wall. Great! If you haven’t drawn for a long time – or you don’t like drawing in front of a crowd!- it can be intimidating. I get it. It seemed that holding the pen was a positive step towards making a mark, and that’s a creative feeling to be encouraged.

Inviting creativity into groups has many forms, and visuals are one way to contribute.

I’ve been a Vancity member since I was 9 and it was a great night. Thanks for the invite, Yolanda!




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