New Conference For Artists And Creatives Launches In Fayetteville

NWA Creative Arts Network, in collaboration with New Design School, is proud to announce the dates for the first ever Creative Exchange Conference, a multidisciplinary arts conference focused on professional and business development within the creative economy in Northwest Arkansas.

Geared toward artists and creative entrepreneurs, Creative Exchange will feature workshops covering topics like best business practices, marketing, accounting, legal issues, and funding. The format will also include seminars, panel discussions, and keynote speakers, along with networking events and public performances showcasing some of Arkansas’ best artists. The conference will take place Aug. 5-7, 2016, in downtown Fayetteville.

“Think of it as business boot camp for artists and creatives,” said Lauren Embree, Executive Director for NWA Creative Arts Network, a nonprofit organization working to connect creatives with opportunities for economic advancement through production, promotion, and education.

As the founder of the Creative Exchange Conference, Embree believes that it’s vital to provide necessary resources and a network of support unique to creative businesses in order to grow and maintain our creative community. She reiterates: “If we don’t support our creative community, we’ll lose it. Creative Exchange will offer the opportunity for artists to grow their passion into a successful career.”

“If you have an idea to launch a project, product or business, but have no idea where to begin, this will be a great place to gain friends and information that can help you,” says Sonia Davis Gutierrez, founder and president of New Design School, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate the next generation of creative professionals to shape the future in visual design. “All creative people inherently create unique products and services, but have traditionally not been trained in business, including marketing, legal and financial aspects—we have an untapped economy and we are going to give them the support they need to build their dreams.”

The group is collaborating with several other area organizations to produce this inaugural event, which will feature representatives from New Design School, Arkansas Arts Council, and Startup Junkie, among many others. Workshops led by artists and industry professionals will present a variety of topics related to the business of art. General business workshops will be offered, covering topics such as tax management, contracts for artistic work, copyright and trademark law, social media marketing, and public relations. Field sessions will be offered to cover topics that pertain specifically to certain fields within the creative industry, examples including product photography, tour management, working with commercial galleries, funding film production, best practices for auditions, and more. These sessions will allow participants to learn tips most applicable to their individual interests and talents, in addition to the overarching basic business practices.

Along with workshops and field sessions, CXC will present curated panel discussions featuring artists, thought leaders, policymakers and industry professionals speaking on a variety of topics including the cultural landscape of Northwest Arkansas, public art, arts advocacy, and more. Social events will be incorporated into the schedule, and will help foster connection and collaboration among the local creative industry. Keynote speakers will be featured at the opening and closing of the conference, and will be announced in June.

Tickets for CXC are available for a special early-bird price of $85, and includes access to all keynotes, workshops, panels, performances, and special events over the conference weekend. The price will increase to $125 after June 1. Discount available for students, seniors, and military veterans. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit To learn more about NWA Creative Arts Network, visit and New Design School at

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