Creative minds come together
A new group thinks outside the box to put this city on the progressive map.
By NICOLE BARDO-COLON
Published June 17, 2007
ST. PETERSBURG - About 35 creative professionals met Thursday night to form a group called St. Pete Creative Network in hopes of making the city a haven for artistic minds.
The director and creator of the group, Justin Elza, said he wants St. Petersburg to be similar to Austin, Texas, or Seattle, two cities known for the arts.
"We want to seriously recruit even more creative people, put ourselves on the map essentially, " Elza said.
The goal of the meeting was to bring together creative minds in St. Petersburg to network, socialize and give back to the community, Elza said.
The gathering became a sounding board for ideas about the group's direction and structure.
"We want to work with the city and different organizations in the city to promote different efforts and enhance the overarching arts and culture in the area, " he said.
Designers, architects, lighting consultants, photographers and even a math teacher showed up.
Elza said that the group is geared primarily toward creative professionals, but that those with a lot of creative energy are welcome to join. There is no cost associated with membership.
The group is not just for professional pursuits. Some of those who attended Thursday expressed the need to have an outlet outside their professions for just having fun.
"I want to get to know people in my field and in other fields, and if anyone wants to be my friend, " Kim Porter said.
Others were excited to have an organization close to home that they could be part of.
"I love the idea, " said Audrea McMahon, owner of an invitation company called Paper Presence. "We don't have to leave St. Pete anymore."
She said she is also looking to the group for a mentor, "someone who knows what trends work and would be willing to help someone just starting out."
Elza said the group wants to remain informal until the members get a feel for one another. He said they are looking for people to start subgroups, like social, networking, educational and community service.
"The Web site is a real big asset as well, " Elza said.
He said he hopes the Web site he is creating will be a valuable tool for the group to communicate and to accomplish goals.
Sixty-one members had registered as of Friday.
A date for next month's meeting has not been set.
Nicole Bardo-Colon can be reached at 893-8779 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
To join or learn more
For more information, check www.graphicdesign.meetup.com/491.
[Last modified June 16, 2007, 21:39:08]
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