In the face of a crushing negative news cycle and seeming daily apocalyptic warnings, happiness and joy has taken a bit of a backseat in American life of late. In order to recharge, art can often provide a beautiful escape to the everyday stresses that bring us down. Following in the trend of experiential pop-up experiences, artist manager Jared Paul began to think of what role he could play in helping people reconnect with things and experiences that make people happy. Inspired by the idea of raising his three children in a world filled with more positivity and joy, Jared launched Happy Place, an interactive pop-up exhibit with larger-than-life installations and multi-sensory themed rooms that exude all things happy, in Los Angeles, CA in November 2017, and has commenced a multi-city tour. We caught up with Jared right before our Chicago members got to experience Happy Place for themselves!
Can you talk us through what the experience actually is? 

Happy Place is meant to be an immersive and interactive experience. You get to walk around, look at one of a kind installations and art work, taste our treats from Tootsie Rolls to M&M’s, jump in our pot of happiness, dance in our confetti dome, and of course pose next to giant 7 foot yellow stilettos to name a few. You can finish your experience in our backyard which includes different fun games, retail store, lemonade stand which donates all net proceeds to a local charity, and of course, taste our a variety of Instagrammable food items including rainbow grilled cheese.

Where did your inspiration for Happy Place come about? 

As a father of 3, I’m always looking for fun things to do with my sons, and I want them to know despite all the dark things that are happening around us, there is still hope and happiness out there. I want everyone walking inside Happy Place to forget their problems at least for an hour and be surrounded by all things happy.

What was your process in creating the experiences? 

I worked closely with our creative and technical director, Butch Allen and a group of different artists who worked with us in different rooms. The inspiration was to create a space where we are surrounded with all things HAPPY, and as we worked through and bounced ideas, different room concepts came together.

How do you think social media has shaped our happiness, our perceptions and expressions of happiness? 

Social media has created a way for people to capture not only the art itself, but their experience interacting with it. Artists get to promote their work and share their vision, while consumers get to share the experience with their friends and tell a story of how each piece impacted them.

For you, what is the key to finding happiness? What advice would you give someone who needs to connect with their own Happy Place? 

My advice is to focus on what you have and what you don’t and be thankful every day for the many blessings and always tell the people you care about that you feel that way, that’s my happy place.