Building the Presence of New England’s Creative Economy
I arrived at the Creative Communities Exchange 2013 on Thursday morning at MECA to a busy reception table – people arriving from all over New England. The hum of voices thro
I am always struck by the city of Portland – it exemplifies what I think of as a “creative city.” Art everywhere but artists are really present and visible too. So many independent stores and galleries beckon. No end of places to see and food to eat. A great walking town with a working harbor.
After a welcome by NEFA’s Rebecca and Creative Portland’s Jennifer Hutchins, we are all off and running to a networking lunch . Each lunch table had a policy question. No one at our table knew how to answer the question since they did not live in a place where artistic activity was considered in zoning decisions but, hey, that did not hold the conversation back. People introduced themselves and just started talking and later table-hopping. Suddenly it was time for the first session – so many interesting sessions that it was hard to pick just one.
Over in the Portland Public Library, I met Molly, a young woman who had just moved back to Portland from Colorado. She is a professional in map-making and looking to make contacts at CCX. I told her to look up Dee Scheidman who is NEFA’s data guru. Then I attended a terrific session led by Craig Dreeszen and Stephanie Fortunato about Cultural Planning for Urban Transit Corridors in Providence, RI. Also of note was a good session by Justine Roberts about building the presence of the NH Children’s Museum in Dover and the region. So many high-quality and engaging workshops in one place…
Several NEFA board members joined me for the conference and I know we all benefited as much as those at the workshops. Lots of good conversation, new models of doing business and such a variety of cultural activity throughout the region.
Here’s to staying connected – through the contacts we all made at CCX, through future NEFA creative economy events, and through CreativeGround.org, New England’s Online Creative Economy Directory, launching in July!
Photos by Arthur Fink.