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The LOOD collective is helping creatives live out their dreams

LOOD (Living Our Own Dreams) calls itself “ a socially conscious collective dedicated to creating a platform for local creatives and using those platforms to give back.”

Creatives come from all walks of life and will find innovative ways to build their platforms. The great thing about this period of time is the access to the internet and the ability to build platforms for just about almost anything.

Three friends decided to come together to start a collective that’s rooted in being socially conscious and using their platforms to give back to communities.

LOOD founders
LOOD Founders (From Left to Right: Kenneth Cousins, Austin Wentworth, and Becca Law) | Photo Courtesy: @heartwinkphotos

Kulture Hub: How did LOOD come to be? What was the driving force behind the collective’s inception?

Kenneth Cousins (LOOD Co-Founder): LOOD came to be very organically. To take a few steps back, my fraternity brother and friend, Austin Wentworth, introduced me to a close friend of his, Becca Law, who also attended Syracuse University a couple of months ago.

He mentioned she wanted to do something special for her father who was a successful film photographer in the 80s and 90s. After all of us hopped on a Zoom, Becca’s initial aspirations turned into something much bigger. An event to celebrate the re-opening of NYC by bringing together visual artists who created during a very tumultuous time in our culture. But not only did we want to celebrate, we also wanted to give back.

Which is where LOOD came in. We initially had a different name leading up to our artist showcase, but after jamming individually with Becca one afternoon, we landed on a phrase that accurately depicted what we wanted to do.

Enter LOOD: Living Our Own Dreams. Any Yeezy fan should recognize that our name is inspired by Kanye’s label GOOD Music. LOOD is a socially conscious collective aimed at supporting local artists by positioning them on a platform in order to give back.

“Each artist has their own dreams and LOOD is just one vehicle for their dreams to take off so they can live out their aspirations.”

– Kenneth Cousins, LOOD Co-Founder

LOOD’s mission of giving back to communities is what makes them different from other collectives. They want to uplift local creatives in a way that inspires creatives to give back. When it comes to the creative field it’s rare to see a focus on local creatives and giving back.

Centering local creatives allows more room for new creatives to have a place to grow and build their platform. LOOD highlights the importance of working within a community instead of networking up the ladder. 

This creative collective is dedicated to redefining what creatives do and how they connect with their audiences and give back to communities. 

KH: How does LOOD define “socially conscious?” 

KC: Bringing diverse thinking into conversations while exercising empathy to recognize inequalities, injustices, or marginalized occurrences in culture to help make a difference.

LOOD collective creatives
Photo Courtesy: @heartwinkphotos

KH: How do you want LOOD to be known and remembered? If there was one word or phrase to define LOOD’s purpose, what would it be and why? 

KC: As a collective that used its strengths and privileges to spotlight artists with a unique perspective and organizations whose intent is to level the playing field.

One word to define LOOD’s purpose? Hyper-local.

– Kenneth Cousins, LOOD Co-Founder

The organizations we partner with may be recognized by their name, but the artists we work with will be hyper-local. So it’s important people know we are about community, community is everything to us, and we really want artists to be proud of their roots.

Back in July, LOOD teamed up with Darkroom and 310Bowery Bar where they hosted an artists showcase where charity prints were for sale, creatives spoke on the events from this past year that allowed them to donate to DiversifyPhoto which is “a community fueled BIPOC and non-western creatives who are dedicated to increasing diversity in the arts.”

This showcase is a way that LOOD was able to bring creatives and different organizations together for a fun event that gives more exposure for local creatives and raises funds for organizations like DiversifyPhoto.

Seven creatives were a part of the event where they showcased their work. According to LOOD’s Instagram post  “They have captured pivotal, thought-provoking moments that encapsulate the spirit of hope and revolution.” 

KH : Can you tell me about the team? How does chemistry play a factor in the collective’s mission?

KC: As mentioned above, the team is made up of Becca Law, Austin Wentworth, and myself. Austin served as the connector, but once we all met we were very much in sync.

We’re all extroverts with sizable networks who love meeting new people. So putting together the event we did with 310 Bowery was an absolute pleasure.

We all have different skillsets and backgrounds, but it’s those similarities and those differences that helped round out the team.

– Kenneth Cousins, LOOD Co-Founder

No matter what kind of event we organize next, there will always be a component where we raise and donate funds to an organization that is making an impact to uplift creatives. Collectively we decided that Diversify Photo, a network made of BIPOC photographers, editors, and producers in the industry, were a perfect recipient of our efforts.

Coincidentally it was also founded by Syracuse alumni; however, that revelation was not known in the upfront which made it much more serendipitous. Thanks to all of our event partners, including Darkroom, 310 Bowery, Trop Flavor Co., we were able to raise more than $5,000 to donate to Diversify Photo.

LOOD is an attempt to change the way creative collectives work. Their emphasis on being hyper-local and showcasing local creatives bring a new sense of community amount creatives so they can see that being connected locally could be just as powerful as climbing up the networking ladder.