January’s #CreativeEconomyMixer was a hit! with over 220 in attendance Troy Savings Bank Music Hall we enjoyed beautiful installation created by Glowing Pictures, a performance by Albany Pro Musica, Signed up for the new ACE Jobhub, and received FREE headshots by Ska City Photography. We had delicious food from Sunhee’s Farm and Kitchen as well as beverages from Rare Form Brewing Company and Schmaltz Brewing Co. We discussed preservation of the arts in our communities and Rensselaer County Historical Society shared the history behind the box seating at the hall, and more! The Mixer began with a Taste of Troy Food Tour and ended at 518 Craft, with drinks and swing music! A VERY SPECIAL thank you to our sponsors MVP Health Care, Rensselaer County Historical Society and Community Loan Fund of the Capital Region, and promotional partners, Troy Cultural Alliance and Albany Pro Musica. Produced in partnership with 2440 Design Studio and WMHT Public Media.
This was necessary since the Emancipation Proclamation, announced by President Lincoln about three years before, did not have jurisdiction over Confederate states like Texas and technically didn’t free a single enslaved Black person. Even after it was law, there was minimal support in enforcing the law.
In the Capital Region, a local entrepreneur is producing an event that not only celebrates the Emancipation of Black people, but celebrates the creative impact Black people have made in the region. Through art, poetry and music, Talk Eat Art, or T.E.A. is an event that has been happening for 4 years in the Capital Region, but this year, the event also commemorates an important day in Black History.
Kaciem Swain (aka @CampaignSwain) is the Founder and Creative Director of Velvet Rope Group, an experiential special events company. He says he decided to celebrate freedom and economic development for people of color rather than a history of slavery and inequality. Six venues, over a thousand tickets sold, and 100 performances later, this year’s event will be held at Proctors Theatre on June 15th.
Swain wants to provide a platform for artists, musicians, and creatives of color to share their talents. His event promotion career began as a teenage protegee with a series called “Rock The Mic.” That started Swain on a path to creating a diverse range of experiences and events, like He said She said, a forum about love, intimacy and relationships, and a writers forum called “A Penny for Your Thoughts”.
Swain wanted to offer a safe space for people to come together, eat, drink, and share constructive criticism in a safe creative environment.
Swain has also teamed up with entrepreneur Liska Wilson, marketing consultant, founder of the nonprofit She’s a Boss, and Busy Day co-owner. Together they created Think Tank Thursdays, a mastermind event series in which aspiring entrepreneurs, small business owners, and visionaries meet up and share ideas about success, innovation, and growth.
“The goal is to build relationships that are diverse and inclusive. Instead of focusing on us having seats at the table, we should focus on building a table together.” Swain also wants to help the creative economy as well through events like T.E.A., whose business model has changed to a profit sharing model where creatives are empowered to deliver and understand that they can create their own financial destiny. The new business model has allowed creatives to see the impact they can have from a business perspective.
I also got a chance to speak to a musician Jordan Taylor-Hill, who will be a part of the opening performance at T.E.A.
“Juneteenth for me personally means freedom of expression as an artist and a drummer. Practices like drumming were condemned and banned on plantations and places where Africans would gather. So to be able to perform , and commemorate people who have laid the groundwork and made this possible is an honor. I’m excited to be involved in this event.”
Guest post by Ashleigh Kinsey, owner, AK Design[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]
This six-county tour, held in February and March 2018, brought more than 700 attendees to Capital Region cultural institutions and creative agencies for open discussions on our regional identity, business challenges and opportunities, and everything related to our region’s Creative Economy. At the sessions, facilitators also shared new data showing the economic contributions from the creative industries, one of the largest and most dynamic regional employment sectors.[/cs_text][cs_text]Special thanks to our event partners Fingerpaint and WMHT Educational Telecommunications, our event designer 2440 Design Studio, and our hosts: Overit, WMHT Educational Telecommunications, the Hyde Collection, Proctors, SPAC’s Hall of Springs, and Hudson Hall at the historic Hudson Opera House. ACE and CEG also thank the many local companies who provided refreshments for our Roundtable Tour, including Berben & Wolff’s, [forged], Fort Orange Brewing, Mazzone Hospitality, Sunhee’s Farm and Kitchen, and 22 2nd Street Wine Co.[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]