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CreateBaltimore Looks to Bring Together Baltimore's Arts, Tech Scenes

Over the past few years Baltimore's reputation as a hub of creativity -- both artistic and technological -- has grown. But, while the work of the city's artists and techies has done much to help the city as it marches forward, the efforts of the two communities have largely been separate. What would happen if the two groups came together, sharing their strengths and ideas?

That's the question Andrew Hazlett and Scott Burkholder, J. Buck Jabaily and Dave Troy hope to begin answering this Saturday, Jan. 15 at CreateBaltimore, a conference for artists, coders, crafters, curators, designers, entrepreneurs, hackers, connectors, activists, makers, educators, museum staff, performers, tinkerers, writers, and others who want to work together to enrich life in Baltimore.

"We were at a Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance event, talking about futurism, networks and participatory cultural organizations, and it occurred to us simultaneously that a lot of these things were starting to sound familiar. We both are in the arts and culture sphere but had spent time hanging out with the tech and entrepreneurial community in Baltimore. We realized that there are a lot of ways in which these two communities are more alike than they realize, but at the same time have a lot to learn from each other," says Hazlett, co-organizer of CreateBaltimore.

"It's not just that museums and artists need to become more adept with social media. Or, that web designers need to understand art and design better, it's deeper than that. So many different topics came to us that we think people would like to talk about," he continues.

The two contacted J. Buck Jubaily, executive director of Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, and Dave Troy, an entrepreneur and leader in the local tech community who started TEDx Mid-Atlantic. The group decided that the best way to kickstart the conversation would be with a BarCamp or unConference-style event that allows participants to create the agenda, make presentations, and generate the discussions that interest them the most.

"We're hoping there will be some really good connections made between people who have more in common than they realize. We want it to have both short and long term impact. Conversation is great, but you have to have concrete next steps that take place. We view this as the start of an ongoing process. We'd like to see some theoretical back and forth, but also have some specific ideas about how entrepreneurs and the DIY, Etsy, craftmaker community can collaborate to take advantage of the storefront offers the city government has been working on. That could result in some concrete economic activity in the city," says Hazlett.

The event, which will be held at the Maryland Institute of Art's Brown Center, is sold out, however, Hazlett encourages anyone who would like to attend to sign up for the waitlist.

Source: Andrew Hazlett, CreateBaltimore
Writer: Walaika Haskins

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