Velocity Arts & Entertainment Creative Director Marcelo Defreitas (left) and Artistic Director Gregangelo
Velocity Arts & Entertainment sees opportunity in emerging event trends.
Velocity Arts & Entertainment, the artist-driven San Francisco Bay Area creator of immersive and interactive private events, has endured a one-two punch in the early years of this decade.
First, the pandemic put the kibosh on in-person meetings, with some organizations still not ready to come together. Then the tech industry, a key business segment, got cold feet as massive layoffs loomed. Past clients like Google, Oracle, and Cisco were either not booking or cancelling plans.
For Velocity Founder and Artistic Director Gregangelo, the pause in bookings brought a sense of déjà vu.
“We’ve been through this kind of downturn before with things like the tech bust, 9/11, the 2008 recession, etc. And we know we will survive it successfully,” he said.
“We see this as an opportunity to recharge our creative energies so we can meet the evolving needs of our clients,” he added.
TRENDS AND OPPORTUNITIES
Working with Creative Director Marcelo Defreitas, Gregangelo sees trends emerging in the meetings and events world and has identified ways that Velocity Arts & Entertainment can help their clients address and overcome them.
“Our specialty is creating interactive experiences that engage attendees in an immersive environment,” Gregangelo explains. “That may be an undersea adventure, running away with the circus, entering an enchanted forest, taking a trip to another universe, or whatever else we dream up.”
In these times of economic flux, displays of opulence are inappropriate. Hosting a big-budget show when hundreds of people have just lost their jobs can feel tone deaf. But how do you inspire and entertain your guests without putting on an ‘extravaganza?’
“We focus on the client’s key mission and message. Every client’s event is an entirely new production. Nothing is ‘off the shelf.’ The clients’ goals and needs drive the creative process so that the resulting event is effective as well as entertaining,” he added.
“As people are getting out from behind their Zoom screens at home and gathering at events, they may be a little shy about interacting with others, much less with the colorful characters our artists create. Some may actually be meeting their colleagues in person for the first time.”
In the new approach, the artists lead the way to conversational, interpersonal experiences. A juggler may ask a guest, “What are some ways that you’ve managed to keep all the balls in the air?” as he is doing that very thing. An actor dressed as Poseidon may "fish for compliments" and encourage guests to express admiration for the person next to them.
“The desired effect is for the client to say ‘Wow, this really brought our people together. Now we have an environment for collaboration,” Gregangelo concludes.
Creativity is Gregangelo’s lifestyle as well as his business. At his house in a quiet San Francisco neighborhood, every room is a journey into his imagination.
“I began renovating and enhancing this little 1920’s house when I moved there in 1979. Over the years, it organically became a ‘museum,’ for lack of a better word,” he explains.
Now known as the Gregangelo Museum, it is open to guests for themed visits by appointment.
Gregangelo Museum has been called “Part residence, part artist collective, part ‘connectatorium.’” It’s a gathering place for the local community of creators, artists, and performers that Gregangelo has been attracting and connecting over the years. Some are longtime friends; others are just starting out. Many are college students looking for a safe and uplifting place to work on their original projects.
The house is also Velocity Arts and Entertainment’s creative headquarters where ideas for new productions are brainstormed and workshopped. Velocity’s artist-driven approach to events evolved from the company’s initial incarnation as Gregangelo’s Velocity Circus in the mid-1990s, about the same as the first dot-com boom.
“Growing up in San Francisco, I knew from an early age that I was born to be an artist, creator, and entertainer. Beginning as an ethnic dancer, I assembled a community of artists and together we became a mobile circus of acrobats, jugglers, magicians, dancers, actors, musicians, costumers, designers, and others,” Gregangelo recalls.
“In my home, they are all welcome to come, share ideas and let their creativity thrive,” he says.
Media contact: Gregangelo Herrera, email@example.com, 415-608-0095.