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PeopleFund East Night Summit

LeaRning how to make Austin's creative success pay off for you

By Robert Faires, Fri., Oct. 19, 2012

PeopleFund East Night Summit
PeopleFund East Night Summit

You've no doubt heard the numbers: $4.35 billion in economic activity, more than $71 million in city tax revenues, almost 49,000 jobs created. The impact of Austin's creative industries on the local economy has generated buckets of ink and chatter, but have you wondered what that actually means for you and the theatre production/alt-classical concert/apartment gallery/site-specific installation/graphic novel that makes up your little corner of the scene? Is it possible to leverage some of that action to grow your work, to loosen some of those dollars to assist in your economic prosperity? And are there ways to make it sustainable?

PeopleFund may have those answers for you. The nonprofit that offers program support and economic opportunities for small businesses in Texas is turning its attention to Austin's arts, cultural, and creative sectors next week with a summit that packs an abundance of information, advice, and homegrown success stories into a four-hour block. You'll be able to hear from experts in entrepreneurship and funding who can give you the lowdown on the current scene and suggest how to make it work for you, as well as from creatives behind some of the city's most successful projects (Alamo Drafthouse, East Austin Studio Tour, Generous Art, Austin Film Society), who can explain what made a difference for them. For starters, economist Jon Hockenyos, who crunched all those numbers on the economic impact of Austin creatives, will break 'em down for you and map out where what you do might intersect with Austin's more traditional businesses. Suzi Sosa, associate director of the RGK Center for Philanthropy and Community Service and executive director of the Dell Social Innovation Challenge, will provide a big-picture view of innovation locally – what's happening now and what lies ahead. In between their talks will be a handful of breakout sessions where you can get pointers on finding and developing partnerships with established businesses; honing your business and marketing skills; crowdfunding, bootstrapping, and other ways of financing creative projects; and integrating the arts into mixed-use development projects and community initiatives related to affordable housing, transportation, health care, and education.

If that sounds like a lot of territory being covered in a short span, well, it is. But curators Lisa Byrd (former director, Pro Arts Collective) and Ann S. Graham (board member, Theatre Action Project/Creative Action) worked hard to deliver the maximum bang for your buck – registration is $35 for the full four hours. You aren't going to find this much concentrated information about the arts and business from this many people in the know very often. So pull out your calendar now, and set aside the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 25. If you're of a mind, you can set aside the evening as well: After the summit, PeopleFund is hosting a celebration to recognize its volunteers, clients, donors, and stakeholders. (Cost for that is an additional $50, but you can attend both summit and celebration for $65.) The PeopleFund East Night Summit will be held Thursday, Oct. 25, 1-5:30pm, at Austin Lumber Company, 2415 E. Fifth. For more information or to register, visit www.peoplefund.org.

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