The summit, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 21, at 8 a.m. at the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, will not only celebrate Milwaukee's creative sector, but it will also emphasize the need for creativity in workforce and economic development.
"This is about people who leverage and use their creative skills to make a living," said Sara Meaney, president of strategy and growth at Hanson Dodge Creative. Meaney helped with both the planning and promotion of the summit.
The creative alliance, which launched in April 2011 and stemmed from the Cultural Alliance of Greater Milwaukee, functions as an umbrella organization to connect Milwaukee's businesses and organizations devoted to media and film, design, performing arts, visual arts and crafts, and culture and heritage.
Board chair Jill Morin said immediately after launching, the alliance set out to develop a vision and a strategic plan and consulted both members and potential members to see how it could serve them best.
According to Morin, creative organizations reported feeling underestimated and underappreciated in the Milwaukee community and struggled to attract and retain creative talent. She believes many people take the city's creative industries like its museums and arts programs for granted, which has only hurt Milwaukee's image as a vibrant, artistic city.
"We decided to do this conference because we wanted to promote the abundance of creative talent that we have here in the region," Morin said.
Through a series of panels, breakout speeches, a trade show, a showcase of Milwaukee's creative initiatives, live music, onsite artists and an exclusive Creative Salon session, the summit will illustrate how creativity is alive and well in Milwaukee.
A morning panel will address the necessity of creative education for kids in order to prepare them for the future workforce, and a lunch panel will focus on the intersection of creativity and business with insight from panelists who will share their own journeys in merging the two.
All presenters including keynote speaker and film producer Jack Turner have deep Milwaukee roots, which Morin and Meaney hope inspires attendees to believe in the creative potential and power of greater Milwaukee.
According to Morin, uniting such a broad group of community members will add to the creativity generated at the conference.
"All of the research – and I've done a lot the last couple of years – about creativity points to diversity as a key driver of creativity," Morin said. "The more diverse something is, the more creative the outcome generally speaking. So we wanted to make sure that we were coming at this in a way that really focused on the diversity that is represented by this community."
She said the alliance is setting out to make the conference as multidisciplinary as possible.
"When you bring creatives together, you never know what's going to happen," Morin said.
BizTimes Media will serve as the in-kind media sponsor for the creative summit. Other sponsors include MIAD and BMO Harris Bank.
Admission to the conference costs $100. Scholarships are available for students. Space is limited, and reservations are filling up quickly. For more information about the schedule of events, the Creative Salon and registration details, visit http://creativealliancemke.org.