DDD, CANO, LCEF Join To Produce Creative Industries Summit

Octarve Anderson, Jr.

NEW ORLEANS – The Downtown Development District, Creative Alliance of New Orleans, and Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation announced a powerful three session Creative Industries Summit on Monday, March 14, 2016, the opening day of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week (NOEW), that will explore robust ways to help creative businesses and producers grow and prosper.

         At 1:00 pm, at The Chicory, the Breakthrough Coalition for the Creative Industries hosts a forum composed of nationally recognized leaders in creative industries development from Detroit, MI, Houston, TX, and Jackson, MI, that will explore some of the nation's most effective strategies for helping creative industries companies, organizations, and individuals, including the visual, performing, design, media, literary and culinary arts.

         Michael Forsyth, from the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, Jonathon Glus, President and CEO of the Houston Arts Alliance and Malcolm White, Executive Director of the Mississippi Arts Commission, among the foremost champions of the creative sector in the nation, will be joined by local arts activist Imani Brown, co-founder of Blights Out, and Jeanne Nathan, Executive Director of the Creative Alliance of New Orleans, who will moderate the panel. These leaders will offer their insight about the most effective policies, programs, and strategies they have developed to support the robust development of the creative sector of the economy. The audience will be surveyed and asked to comment on the most important ways they could be helped in developing their creative careers and businesses.

         Panel 2, at 2:00 pm, "Pipelines and Lifelines for Creative Industries Business Development," moderated by Aimee Smallwood, CEO of the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, will focus on new creative industries business incubators that are geared to help everyone from starving artists with hot ideas to innovative moguls.

         Panelists will include Octarve Anderson Jr., a musical artist, now part of a business collaboration project focused on the performing, film, and music industries in New Orleans, and Director of the Music Business program for the New Orleans Media Institute, in partnership with Southern University of New Orleans, Shantrell Austin, Director of Operations for the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, Rochad Holiday, music producer and performer, now a partner with B. Slade for Urban Twist music, community activist Ben McLeish, now Executive Director of LaunchNOLA which offers training, mentoring, and networking for urban entrepreneurs, economic and entertainment development specialist Sherri McConnell, now Assistant to the Louisiana State Secretary for Economic Development for Special Projects and Public Policy, and Chair of the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation which has just launched Culture-Up, an incubator for businesses and artists working in the creative industries and Kemic Smothers, an entertainment lawyer, who heads up SUNO's Center for Entrepreneurship.

         The final session of the Creative Industries Summit closes with the 4th Annual Downtown Development District's "Downtown NOLA Arts and Business Pitch." The Pitch will take place from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 pm. Five arts business entrepreneurs will compete for a prize package valued at $40,000 provided by business partners of the Downtown Development District who have joined this effort to help grow the arts business community in Downtown New Orleans.

         The finalists for the pitch, aimed at entrepreneurs with scalable creative enterprises, include: Culturealyst, a web platform that provides a visual directory of the city's creative, Escape My City, a scavenger hunt game in Downtown New Orleans that brings visitors to business and cultural destinations, Girl's Guide, a guide to everything in our city for women from shopping and dining to services, Libertad, a self guided digital "Uncover New Orleans" tour app focused initially on slavery history in the downtown section of New Orleans and PatentDive, an application that allows artists, creatives, and inventors to create design patents in minutes.

         "We are proud of our intentional approach to attracting creative businesses, producers, and initiatives to the heart of downtown New Orleans," said Kurt Weigle, CEO of the Downtown Development District of New Orleans.

         Creative Alliance of New Orleans Executive Director, Jeanne Nathan said, "The DDD's collaboration with CANO and the LCEF has made all the difference in the world to advancing an appreciation of the importance of the creative economy to our city and state's future."

         "Working together, our three organizations have informed hundreds of entrepreneurs directly and many more about the programs, funding sources, and now incubator spaces available to help them progress for the benefit of their own creative talents and for our city and state as a whole," said Aimee Smallwood, CEO of Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation.

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