After years of collective brand-building, innovation and creative design for luxury and consumer product goods life-style brands, Riley Johndonnell and Whitny Sobala found their paths converge on a common mission to leverage their ‘gifts’ for good.     

In their subsequent work together, as activists and consultants in the corporate, civic and government “happiness and wellness” space, they met many other Optimistic innovators and discovered a real need to create tangible tools to help turn Optimism into Action; giving themselves and others practical ways to make a brighter reality.

They started by asking themselves: What if Optimism was a color?  What if Optimism was a space? 

Since then, UMEWE has...

Our intent: Provide an optimistic platform for collaboration and a tool for creatives around the globe to explore and share Optimism with others, and create a brighter world, while also shining a light on mental health. 

  • Created 'Happy Spots' as public 'spaces' for turning Optimism into action. They are round, yellow markers of Hope and Happiness, collectively developed by local artists, community members and organizations to help brighten communities and beautify neighborhoods: public works of art and design intended to act as indicators of a community striving for positivity and connectedness.

Our intent: Provide tangible places/destinations for community-based Optimism.

  • Launched the 'Light Up Yellow' Campaign (featuring Pharrell Williams in 2015) as a platform for mayors and cities to participate in celebrating and promoting International Day of Happiness.

Our intent: Encourage civic participation in a new holiday focused on happiness and the sharing of positive energy.  

  • Launched a three-month pop-up called The (P)optimism Shoppe, in Kingston, NY.

Our intent: Create a community space for positive collaborations, while also featuring and selling exclusive Optimism-based works of art, projects and products.

  • Created the Happy Spot Fund to generate, support and sustain the creation of public Happy Spots.

Our intent: Make a brighter reality by collaboratively generating positive energy, on community at a time.

  • Created a civic “INTOyellow” celebration (aka “Paint the Town Yellow”) - an annual week-long series of arts, educational and social events that support and celebrate local community mental health resources in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month (May). UMEWE develops and annual “Activation Guide” for the town-wide celebrations and participating towns then “adopt and adapt” specific programming elements based on the vibe and needs of their town, and direction from their local steering group of Optimistic community leaders, therapists, educators, students, religious organizations and senior citizens.

Our intent: Shine a light on the stigma of Mental Health and inspire community connection through collaboration and creativity (positively impacting the well-being of the city).