Creative Catalyst Spotlight: Matt Morrow

2018 Creative Catalyst artist Matt Morrow
2018 Creative Catalyst artist Matt Morrow (middle) worked with local youth to stage a graphic novel at a recent workshop at Andy's Summer Playhouse.

Over the course of the next year, five artists and their partner nonprofit organizations will bring engaging arts projects to communities throughout San Diego as part of the most recent Creative Catalyst Program grants.

Matt Morrow
Matt Morrow is a 2018 Creative Catalyst artist.

In anticipation of these projects, we are featuring each of the artists on SDF News to get you excited for what’s to come and also to share more about their backgrounds and impact in the region.

Matt Morrow is an accomplished theatrical director whose vision for theater is defined by inclusivity and community outreach. Currently, Matt serves as Executive Artistic Director of San Diego’s Diversionary Theatre, one of the nation’s longest running LGBT theater production companies.

For his Creative Catalyst project, Matt is working with nonprofit organization La Jolla Playhouse to create a theater production that blends technology and art.

Using technology as a powerful vehicle of storytelling, Matt will engage new audiences, specifically young adults and professional technophiles, to experience and appreciate live theater. He will work with local cast, musicians, stage managers, and students at The Arts Institute of San Diego and/or UC San Diego Game Development Studio.

We spent some time with Matt, who shared with us his passion for storytelling.

Interview with Matt Morrow

The San Diego Foundation: What inspires your passion for the arts?

Matt Morrow: I’m a director, and therefore first and foremost a storyteller.

I believe that stories have the ability to connect us to ourselves and to our community in a way that enhances our understanding of how we relate to one another and the world around us. It deepens our capacity for empathy and compassion.

And I feel most alive and connected when I’m in the theatre creating or experiencing the art of live theatre.

TSDF: What role do you believe art plays in civil society?

MM: Art should be treated like a utility. It’s as vital as water, electricity, or access to the internet. Without it, civil society has no way to see or understand itself, and therefore no way to contextualize itself in the greater world. Civil society’s spirit would wither without it.

TSDF: How do you engage with the community through your art?

MM: I engage with my community through open, honest, candid, and surprising work that speaks to our current societal and political condition. There has to be a certain authenticity and directness of spirit that conveys a sense of what it means to be human.

I also love to laugh, and often comedy is a great vehicle to open someone’s heart and mind to new and exciting ideas that might shift their perspective and illuminate something new for them, therefore increasing their quality of life.

Most of all, I relish work that engages the community through experiencing a performance that is radically new, inventive or innovative.

TSDF: What do you hope San Diegans take away after engaging with your Creative Catalyst project?

MM: I hope they take a way a sense of awe of how technology can support storytelling, and a deeper understanding of their own obsessive tendencies and how that might fit into America’s culture of consumerism, violence and war.

And I hope they have fun – this project is a multi-media, noir thriller with a big ‘ol juicy heart! It should be a captivating experience.

Engaging with the Artists

The San Diego Foundation Creative Catalyst Program works to grow the creative economy, advance artist careers and strengthen community engagement by increasing opportunities for San Diegans to experience arts and culture.

Matt is one of five artists who will be sharing their unique works with the community over the next year. Learn more about our other Creative Catalyst artists, including:

To learn how to engage with Matt and other artsts as they develop their 2018-2019 Creative Catalyst project, subscribe to our newsletter – SDF News.

Share Performance Updates with Me