Inside a Salon

Connecting small, influential groups of people in authentic and sensory ways.

Like in traditional diplomacy, our salons use cultural tools such as food, drink, and art to break down barriers, bring people together around shared purpose, and create an intimate space for honest dialogue. Food, drink and art (which may include music, visual arts, fashion, scent, design, or other art forms) allow guests to connect and communicate with and without words on a more emotional level that activates all five senses. This facilitates more authentic conversation and exchange among small inspiring groups of leaders.

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The Art of Conversation.

Our monthly salons are twelve guests (twenty-four over a two night salon series).  We keep the number of people at the table intentionally small to maintain the intimacy and outcome-orientation of our “whole table conversation.”  In historic or architectural settings, we engage 20-30 guests (60-100 over a three night salon series).  Guests come from a range of backgrounds and fields – arts, sciences, politics, sports, international affairs, philosophy or entrepreneurship — to share in conversation on a particular topic.

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The format of our structured conversations is inspired by diplomacy and community organizing.  Our model follows a “me, us, we” format inspired by public narrative training.  This format allows salon participants to identify themselves with the conversation through a personal "me" icebreaker, build a “story of us” with other participants around a topic or cause, and then decide how "we" want to take action together.

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Conversations that support causes, artists, thinkers, storytellers and innovators.

Our salons focus on topics that matter to our country today, like women and girls, entrepreneurship, civic innovation, civil political discourse, food, race, youth, global affairs, technology ("geeks and wonks"), and social justice. Our salons result in collaborations -- brain trusts -- that help advance a cause or an outcome.

Our salons also act as launching pads to introduce emerging talent in arts and culture, provide feedback to clients, and advocate for aligned partners working in social impact, art, media, food, and politics.  

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Space as conversation.

Salonniere holds salon conversations in three kinds of spaces. First, our unique salon space in Detroit: a glass-enclosed townhouse built in 1959 by famed architect Mies van der rohe, which is itself an artwork. Second, in private living rooms across the country and world. And, third, in unique historic, architectural or forgotten spaces.

One of the most celebrated projects of Mies van der rohe’s career, Detroit’s Lafayette Park is the perfect venue for intimate monthly salons. And Detroit is a great place for the tough courageous conversations that matter to our country right now. 

We hold salons in the private living rooms and at the kitchen tables of women guest "salonnieres" across the country, and in artistic, historic and forgotten spaces in Detroit and other cities that themselves spark important conversations about transformation, art, innovation, and social justice. 

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