Every March, Austin, Texas is flooded with sponsors and attendees for SXSW Interactive. 6th Street transforms from an already bustling bar scene to a playground of parties and experiences, tempting visitors with immersive experiences and free swag.
For the last few years, an event has been engaging a difference audience on the other side of the Colorado River: SXCreate. While SXSW Interactive is focused on tech professionals, SXCreate is a family-friendly celebration of maker culture and DIY technology that’s open to the public. Families can learn to solder circuit boards, interact with robots, or weld in virtual reality.
This year, we used our space in the Open Source Pavilion to stage an exercise in creative collaboration on a grand scale. Inspired by the trend of coloring books for all ages, we designed our booth as a giant coloring sheet and invited SXCreate attendees to work together to color it.
We started the event with a bright, clean structure, pristine beanbag chairs, brand new white carpet, and ten boxes of white bandanas.
That all changed as soon as the doors opened and our collaborators streamed in. Over the course of three days, we watched the booth—and the chairs and carpet—transform into a riot of color and self-expression as people of all ages and backgrounds worked together to fill in every inch of white space.
More photos are on our Flickr page.
You can also watch the transformation in this time-lapse video:
Something as low-tech as a coloring booth may seem like an odd choice for a technology company attending one of the biggest tech conferences of the year, but it was a perfect fit for us and for SXCreate. By the end of the event, thousands of people had worked together as a community to do something bigger than they could alone—just like the open source developers who make our software possible.
Want to get in on the fun? It’s not too late! Download one of our printable coloring sheets here:
When you’re done, post your masterpiece on Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #sxredhat and share it with the world.