ICYMI: MBJ: National creative conference looking for space Downtown

MBJ: National creative conference looking for space Downtown

“Creative Works, an annual three-day conference that brings creatives to the Bluff City from all over the country, plans to make recruiting talent to Memphis a year-round endeavor.

Creative Works is currently part of the coworking scene at Emerge Memphis, but Archer Malmo CEO Russ Williams says the conference has grown to warrant a coworking space of its own.

The City’s core is already a hotbed of creative talent with firms such as Red Deluxe, Lokion, Rocket Fuel and Farmhouse Creative setting up shop within a quarter-mile of Union and Main. Archer Malmo, Memphis’ largest advertising agency, is spearheading an initiative to raise funding to relocate Creative Works — and conference founder Josh Horton — to the same area, as well as pay him a salary to recruit creative talent full-time.

“We have to give them the keys, empowerment and financial support to attract like-talent, while getting out of their way,” Williams said.

Horton said the goal for the Creative Works coworking space would be to create a newly activated space in the Downtown core with a gallery, a resource library, workshops focused on developing new skills, a speaker series with national creative leaders, event programming, grants for the creative community and a place for corporate retreats.

The initiative to recruit more entrepreneurs and creative talent was presented to Downtown Memphis Commission (DMC) board members during their annual retreat Jan. 28.

With Milliennials entering their peak spending and leadership years, Williams said, they are driving commercial real estate movements in cities that are attracting creative talent.

“While places like Austin and Seattle and Portland and Boston are overrun with these creative millennials, they have accessibility issues, parking issues and affordability issues,” Williams said. “In Memphis, we offer tremendous affordability and accessibility, as well as an offer to be part of a movement to transform the creative community.”

Williams is working to intentionally build a tight-knit community in the areas between Riverside, Madison, Second and Gayoso, where “Creative Collisions” can take place between professionals at nearby coffee shops or bars.

DMC President Terence Patterson said not only is the creative community cool, but a shot in the arm for the local economy.”

MBJ: National creative conference looking for space Downtown

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