Creative Industries Day/Downtown NOLA Arts-Based Business Pitch

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Creative Industries Day at Idea Village’s New Orleans Entrepreneur Week 2014 was, by all accounts, a great success. 

We got a great turn out for our VIP luncheon with keynote speaker, Christine Harris, who brought news of the heightened national attention to the creative industries that she strongly recommended we consider here as well. All of our panelists on the two panels were both informative and entertaining. I think all were impressed with the level and creative quality of initiatives in New Orleans.

For those of you unable to attend, we are pleased to offer two videos on the luncheon talk and the panels below. Thanks to William Sabourin for shooting and editing them for us. 

NOEW 2014 Lunch from Creative Alliance of New Orleans on Vimeo.

NOEW 2014 Panel from Creative Alliance of New Orleans on Vimeo.


Contact: Andrew Freeman



Creative Alliance of New Orleans, Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation, and the Downtown Development District partner to present Creative Industries Day programming for arts-based businesses.

New Orleans, March 19, 2014— Creative Industries Day will take place on Wednesday, March 26, 2014 from 1pm to 4pm in Gallier Hall during New Orleans Entrepreneur Week. The Creative Alliance of New Orleans and the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation will present their second annual forum on current developments in the creative industries sector of New Orleans’ economy, and on innovative marketing strategies in these fields. These panels will be held in conjunction with the Downtown Development District’s 2nd annual Pitch contest that will award a start-up creative company $25,000 in cash and services.

“These are explosively exciting times in New Orleans for those in creative fields from visual, performing and media arts to the design, literary and culinary worlds. New Orleans has the potential to become a major creative center on a par with the mature centers of New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and others. Our panelists and pitch finalists will describe why,” says Jeanne Nathan, Executive Director of the Creative Alliance of New Orleans.

“We are interested in fostering a dialogue with other creatives attending who we hope will work together to foster the city’s growth as a creative center,” says Aimee Smallwood, CEO of the Louisiana Cultural Economy Foundation.


1–2PM Panel 1: Creative Industry Entrepreneurs On the Move in New Orleans: Who Are We?

Susan Brennan President/CEO, Second Line Stages Jonathan Ferrara Owner, Jonathan Ferrara Gallery Jolene Pinder President, New Orleans Film Society Vincent Sylvain President, Policamp, Inc., managing the Carver Theater restoration Amechi Ugwu tie designer and manufacturer Marcel Wisznia President, Wisznia Architecture + Development and Beta Shared Workspace Jack Lykins Creative Director, Flatland Productions Todd D’Amour Theatre Producer Kay Jones Dinner Lab Tabitha Bethune Creative Director, The Wildlife Reserve, a clothing movement Chuck Perkins Owner, Café Istanbul

2-3PM Panel 2: Building Momentum for your Creative Industries Enterprise or Initiative through Innovative Marketing Strategies

Dorian Bennett Sotheby’s Real Estate and Sculpture for New Orleans Andrew Freeman Bond Public Relations and Brand Strategy Blake Haney CEO, Canary Collective Jesse Hardman Reporter, Writer, and International Media Development Specialist, Listening Post, NPR Christine Harris CEO, Christine Harris Connections, Co-Founder, Creative Economy Coalition

Brandan Odums Visual Artist, Filmmaker, Promotions Mark Romig President/CEO, New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation Vincent Sylvain President, Policamp, Inc., managing the Carver Theater restoration

3-4 PM 2nd Annual Downtown NOLA-based Arts Pitch

Each of the five finalists is committed to relocating to, or conducting business in, Downtown New Orleans. They all have the ability to foster a hub of innovation by attracting buzz, talent and economic activity. The DDD, along with other downtown partners, will award a prize package of seed capital and pro bono legal, accounting, PR, and real estate services valued at over $35,000, to the winner. Sponsors include Corporate Realty, Jones Walker, Postlethwaite & Netterville, Barrios, Kingsdorf & Casteix, LLP, Beta and Wisznia & Associations.

Downtown Development District CEO Kurt Weigel says, “We are very excited about the candidates who submitted their proposals for our creative industries pitch. Our judges had a hard time choosing, impressed by the range and quality of submissions. We look forward to what we expect to be a dynamic series of pitches by the candidates.”

Matter Inc., of BirdProject Soaps is thrilled to spearhead an inspiring design store + studio. ‘Frontier’ features beautiful lifestyle goods by New Orleans’ design entrepreneurs: soaps to sofas to perfume to sunglasses are all made thoughtfully with love in NOLA & collected in one space, ready for you.

HereHear! connects you to the energy and emotion of live music by combining live streaming with crowd sourced photography. It will promote downtown’s live music scene while providing an interactive experience for residents and visitors.

The Creative Lab curates affordable, interactive classes to help you tap into your inner creative. Taught by local experts, these classes focus on art, DIY, and digital media –all taking place in Downtown New Orleans.

CultureConnect is an affordable, easy to use platform for museums to create their own mobile applications. They provide a solution for a $21BN market that often struggles with resources or lacks the technical expertise to pursue mobile projects.

Where Y ’Art is a curated community of New Orleans creators, artists, makers and designers. Their mission is to connect these artists with the human beings that love our city, culture and art. So discover, follow and shop the art of our community.

About NOEW Creative Industries Day Partner Organizations:
The Creative Alliance of New Orleans’ mission is to provide training, education and information for creative artists, cultural producers and the community to protect our cultural legacy and to promote the revitalization of the city as a cultural and economic center.
The primary mission of LCEF is to be a catalyst for the development and enhancement of the distinct cultural industries of Louisiana by promoting the economic health and quality of life of our cultural economy workforce.
The Downtown Development District’s mission is to drive the development of Downtown New Orleans and be the catalyst for a prosperous, stimulating, innovative heart of the Crescent City.

New Orleans Entrepreneurship Week 2014 Panelists

Panel 1: Creative Industry Entrepreneurs On the Move in New Orleans:  Who Are We?

Tabitha Bethune is a longtime actress and award-winning playwright. She designed La Playbill to pay homage to the arts and her undying love for the theater. Making use of rich, smoldering fabrics, Bethune constructed remarkable gowns each inspired by some of the world’s favorite plays, artists and movies from both the present and past. In addition to the 10 karat gold stitching found in every hem of La Playbill gowns, Bethune’s signature line contains dramatic cuts and tailoring. In 2006 Tabitha married Micaiah Bethune, designer and owner of the locally renown men’s clothing line, The Wildl Life Reserve. Collectively under the umbrella of The Wild life reserve La Playbill’s mission seeks to preserve elements of raw fashion that have been eliminated by mass production void of personal style. Bethune’s La Playbill comes to fruition as a result of today’s lax fashion culture that has been stripped of black-tie standards and has lost sight of the respect once paid to the stage by simply dressing up.

Susan Brennan is the CEO and developer of Second Line Stages, the First independent LEED certified sound stages in the US. Born and raised in New Orleans, Susan is a graduate of Trinity Episcopal School, Isidore Newman School and Vanderbilt University. She previously worked at Royal Antiques in New Orleans, Kentshire Galleries in New York City and Christies Fine Art Auctioneers as a regional representative for Mississippi and Louisiana.She is currently developing a condominium project at 425 Notre Dame with shops below in the CBD, and 6 apartments on Girod St. in the CBD. Her past project includes a condo project at 333 Girod St in the CBD, and an office building on Constance St. located near Second Line Stages. She serves on the boards of US Biennial Prospect.3 as Chairman, the Metropolitan Crime Commission, the Arts Council, the New Orleans Museum of Art and Young Life. She is married to restaurateur Ralph Brennan and has three children, Kathryn, Patrick and Kristen.

Todd D’Amour grew up in New Orleans and graduated from DeLaSalle High School. After graduating with a degree in biopsychology from Syracuse University, Todd then received a degree from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Todd spent 12 years in New York City and returned to his hometown 3 years ago. New York City credits include John Wilkes Boothe in 16 Gramercy Park at The player’s Club/National Arts Club, Ether Steeds (Fringe; Best Ensemble); Orpheus in Orpheus and Eurydice (ChaShama), Jake in Lie of the Mind at MTS, Heracles in Women of Trachis at The Ohio (Target Margin), Stanley in Stanley at HERE (dir. Lisa D’Amour), Colin Clement in Red Tide Blooming at PS122 (dir. Taylor Mac), Bill in Major Barbara (Two-Headed Calf – Company won OBIE). Mr. Interviewer in Nita and Zita at HERE (Play won OBIE). One Arm in Tennessee William’s One Arm, Fedotik in Three Sisters (Charas). Regional credits include Stanley in A Streetcar named Desire (SMT), The Man in A Perfect Ganesh (NET), Charlie Chaplin in Silent Lives (Co-Writer – NET). He was most recently seen in Southern Rep’s productions of the The Lily’s Revenge (The Curtain) and Venus in Fur (Thomas), which toured to the GEVA Theatre Rochester. He was also recently seen in American Theatre Project’s Fringe Production of A Member of the White Race (Davey Caron), as well as Goat-in-the-Road’s staged radio-play reading of This Sweaty City. His latest feature film, Wendell and the Lemon (Wendell) is now surfing the festival circuit.

Jonathan Ferrara is a New Orleans artist, gallery owner, community activist and arts entrepreneur. His gallery exhibits cutting edge works of art from local, national and international artists including paintings, sculpture, glass, metal works, mixed media and installation art. Exhibitions he has produced have been featured in The New York Times, Time magazine, Art In America, ARTPAPERS, ART News, The Associated Press, ELLE Magazine and on ABC’s Good Morning America and in numerous local, national and international publications.  He has been honored by numerous organizations including the Contemporary Arts Center, Gambit Weekly, New Orleans Magazine  and The Young Leadership Council.  In 2006, he received Louisiana’s Governor’s Art Awards for Leadership in the Arts and in June 2007, moved his gallery to Julia Street, considered one of the preeminent art corridors in the South. Ferrara’s work has been exhibited in New York, Miami, Massachusetts, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, Louisiana, Wisconsin and internationally in Hungary.

Kay Jones is the PR Director for Dinner Lab and moved to New Orleans at the end of October from NY.  Previously, she spent 14 years at CNN, lastly as Senior Producer. She spent a lot of time in New Orleans covering Hurricanes Katrina, Rita & Gustav as well as the rebuilding of the city after Katrina and the BP oil spill. Kay is responsible for the media coverage as well as partnerships with outside companies who want to work with Dinner Lab.

Jack Lykins is an animator, designer and filmmaker living in New Orleans. He is a graduate of the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he spent several years freelancing before moving to New Orleans in 2009. In 2011, Jack started Flatland, a production company specializing in motion graphics, video production and design. Since its founding, Flatland has won numerous awards and has worked with notable clients throughout the country.

Chuck Perkins lives in his home town of New Orleans where he is a well-known poet who performs with his band The Voices of the Big Easy at a variety of popular venues from festivals to jazz clubs as well as colleges and schools. He has performed all over the U.S. including the Green Mill in Chicago, the Bowery Poetry Club and the Jazz Gallery in New York, the Tennessee Williams Literary Festival, and the Southbank Centre in London. He has shared the stage with poets such as Amiri Baraka, Slam Poetry creator Marc Smith, and former Poet Laureate Mark Strand; he has also performed with any number of jazz musicians including Henry Butler, Donald Harrison, and Allen Toussaint. In recent years he has toured extensively in England, France, and the Netherlands. His work appears in the best selling poetry anthology The Spoken Word Revolution and his own books A Bucket of Questions  and the recently issued Voices from the Big Easy: A Love Song for NOLA which includes a critically acclaimed CD of his poetry and music. A complete listing of Chuck’s work, press clippings and videos are easily available on You Tube and Facebook. Chuck co-owns one of the city’s best performance halls, Café Istanbul

Jolene Pinder is the Executive Director of the New Orleans Film Society (NOFS) Jolene Pinder is the Executive Director of the New Orleans Film Society. Since January 2011, she has worked to expand the profile and reach of the organization. Under her leadership the attendance of the annual New Orleans Film Festival has doubled (from 8,500 in 2010 to 17,000 in 2012); year-round programming has increased dramatically; Film Society membership has nearly doubled; and the number of partners engaged across the city has grown significantly. Prior to assuming the Executive Director position at NOFS, Ms. Pinder worked at Arts Engine in New York for three and half years as a documentary film producer and director of the Media That Matters Film Festival. During her time at Big Mouth Films (Arts Engine’s production arm), she was Associate Producer for Outreach and Distribution on Arctic Son and Election Day (both broadcast on P.O.V., 2007 and 2008 respectively) and a Producer on the Little Pim DVD series. She produced the feature-length documentary (A)sexual (2011) and served as co-producer on the documentary Pushing the Elephant (broadcast on Independent Lens in 2010). Ms. Pinder has a background in film production, marketing, sponsorship and educational outreach in a variety of non-profit settings—consumer rights, education reform, outreach and most recently, public broadcasting and social justice film. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in English Literature from the University of Chicago and a Masters in Journalism and Communications from the University of Florida’s Documentary Institute.

Amechi Ugwu With his adventurous own SWAG and STYLE and his keen eye for the molding of patterns and fabrics to produce his emmaculate ties, Amechi is a storm brewing up in the south ready to hit the world and shake up the game. A Senior, Fashion Apparel and Merchandizing major and world famed “Human Jukebox” member is a Sagittarious and  Houston, TX native that has definitely made his make on “The Yard.” He also dabbles in Shirt Designs making many SU shirts that students have flocked to and fell in love with. His fashions have been seen on many of the socialites of the country and celebs as well.

Marcel Wisznia is an architect and real estate developer. He is the second generation of a family practice that was founded in Corpus Christi, Texas in 1947. After graduating from Tulane University’s School of Architecture in 1973, he opened his own practice here in New Orleans.  In the early 1980s he merged his firm with his father’s in Texas and practiced together as two profit centers of the same company until his father’s death in 2004. This has allowed him to pursue real estate development, not only from a business perspective, but from a creative design approach also. Wisznia’s architectural division almost exclusively serves it’s real estate development department.  In other words, Wisznia Architecture’s sole “client” is Wisznia Development. Since Hurricane Katrina, they have developed three mixed-use projects in downtown New Orleans, totaling almost $100 million: the Union Lofts, the Maritime and the Saratoga.

Panel 2: Building Momentum for your Creative Industries Enterprise or Initiative through Innovative Marketing Strategies

Dorian Bennett ​​Is the owner of Sotheby’s International Realty Company. His Realty Company continually lists properties ranging from grand mansions and Victorian gingerbread homes to sleek modern penthouses and properties ideal for renovation and redevelopment. They also offer a complete property management service to help you maximize your real estate investments. Once you acquire an investment from his firm, you can depend on the in-house management professionals for its future care. His  company intends to be an integral part of the continuing rebirth of New Orleans as it works to fully rebuild it’s homes and communities.

Andrew Freeman As an Account Executive at Bond PR Andrew works with an array of clients including Tiffany & Co., Camellia Brand, the George Rodrigue Foundation for the Arts, Sculpture for New Orleans, Hollywood Trucks, the New Orleans Film Festival, and Salire Fitness. Andrew joined Bond PR after four years directing communications for Young Audiences of Louisiana, the states longest-running arts-education organization.  In this role Andrew led marketing and community outreach for the successful launch of the first open-enrollment arts-integrated charter school in the Greater New Orleans region, Young Audiences Charter School. Andrew represented Young Audiences locally and nationally, serving as the Vice Chair of the Southern Chapter of the National Guild for Community Arts Education. Prior to joining Young Audiences Andrew interned with CreativeTime, a producer of public art projects in New York City. Originally from Naples, Florida, Andrew graduated from Tulane University in 2009 with a double major in Finance and Art History.

Blake Haney is the information architect, content strategist and chief designer at Canary Collective. He likes to transform fleeting ideas into concepts and concepts into brands. He has been “spinning plates” since 1999.

Jesse Hardman is a reporter, journalism professor, and international media development specialist. Hardman has worked as a media trainer and developer for the international media development agency Internews in Pakistan, Bosnia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and with Native American community media. As a reporter, his radio/video/print work is featured on Al Jazeera America, NPR,, the Atlantic and a number of other national and international media outlets. Hardman is an assistant visiting professor at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism and an adjunct at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs. He’s also the co-creator and host of the live radio program Where I’m From and the New Orleans based civic media initiative the Listening Post .

Christine Harris As part of her consulting practice, Christine Harris Connections, Christine is now Consulting Advisor to the Creative Alliance Milwaukee. She became the President and Executive Director of its precursor, Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee, in March, 2008. Following the groundbreaking “Creativity Works! Project” to establish the creative industries in Southeast Wisconsin, she transitioned the organization to serve these industries as the Creative Alliance Milwaukee in March, 2011.Christine was President of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF) from 2002 to 2007, raising the most money ever in its history. Christine has 25 years of arts administration experience, including Director of Marketing and Education for the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. At the Symphony, Christine founded the national arts education model, Arts in Community Education. Christine currently sits on the Executive Committee of the Visit Milwaukee Board, and the Executive Committee of the Helen Bader Institute for NonProfit Management Leadership Council.Christine is a Milwaukee native and earned both her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from UW- Madison. She currently resides in the greater Milwaukee area and enjoys biking, kayaking, fine dining, and going to cultural events.

Brandan “Bmike” Odums is the founder and director of 2-Cent Entertainment LLC – a youth education social enterprise that produces mixed media content and events in the overlap between pop culture and social awareness. Founded in 2005, 2-Cent began as a hip-hop-oriented, grassroots, entertainment company geared towards addressing problems in the community. Since then the company, through Brandan’s vision, has made itself a household name across New Orleans and surrounding areas. Brandan’s work has been seen on MTV, in the New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center, published in two college textbooks, a memoir about community resistance and an cartography book about New Orleans. He has been commissioned by Red Bull and the New Orleans Hornets to create murals and invited by Scholastic to film a documentary of relief efforts in Haiti. Brandan has worked with notable celebrities such as Mos Def, Spike Lee, Trombone Shorty, Mannie Fresh and Curren$y.

Mark Romig A native New Orleanian, Mark is the President/CEO of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation (NOTMC), the city’s official leisure travel promotion agency responsible for enhancing the tourism industry through effective marketing and promotional programs. Most recently, Mark also took over the role as stadium announcer at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the New Orleans Saints from his father, Jerry who served in the same role for 44 years and 446 consecutive games.

Vincent Sylvain is president of Policamp, Inc., a provider of turnkey Web-based Internet Marketing Services in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast Region.  Sylvain has successfully used Internet marketing to help promote the campaigns of an U.S. Senator, a Governor, a Mayor, civic initiatives and a host of judicial and other elected officials. He is also the publisher of The New Orleans Agenda, a New Orleans-based online newsletter which has received more than 2 million Page Views and is fast becoming the local leader in providing information on New Orleans’ faith-based entities, community groups, professional organizations, and arts & cultural institutions.

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