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Indiana stands at a transformative juncture—a moment ripe with the potential to redefine our state’s economic DNA through the alchemy of creativity and strategic investment. As the co-founder and creative director of PATTERN since its inception, I’ve been deeply entrenched in Central Indiana’s creative pulse since 2006. Fast forward to today, and I’ve evolved into a publisher, mentor, and advocate for our state’s burgeoning creative economy.
It’s been an exhilarating ride, no doubt about it. Leading PATTERN, I’ve navigated based on both personal passions and the needs of our community. Sure, our mission might have seemed a bit elusive at times, but here’s the deal: We’ve always been all-in for Indiana’s creative entrepreneurs. Navigating the complexities of economic and workforce development has been tumultuous and at times uncertain, but we’re at a nexus point in our journey where we’ve unearthed a game-changing opportunity. But to seize it, we must unite as a state.
Introducing Creative Crossroads: Indiana’s first Creative Economy Summit
Creative Crossroads, hosted in partnership with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, is a full-day summit centered around targeted dialogue aimed at Indiana’s key decision-makers—those who shape policy, draft laws, and allocate investment dollars to nurture our creative sectors. From arts to culture to film, music, design, and media, we have the opportunity to align and realize monumental economic, social, and reputational statewide impact.
The READI Initiative: A Catalyst for Change
Recently, Governor Eric Holcomb unveiled READI 2.0, a $500 million initiative designed to fuel diverse statewide projects, including quality-of-place and quality-of-opportunity enhancements. With READI 1.0 having already allocated over $20 million to creative initiatives, Creative Crossroads aims to amplify this commitment. We envision the Summit as a catalyst that will inspire future READI applicants to prioritize creative sectors like entertainment, design, and startups. Additionally, we hope to influence decision-makers to view creative projects as high-impact investments, thereby increasing the funding allocated to the creative economy through READI 2.0 and future investments.
Indiana boasts a storied industrial history and a thriving entrepreneurial culture. Yet, lurking beneath the surface is an untapped creative powerhouse that’s an economic force in its own right.
According to 2021 data from Americans for the Arts, the nonprofit arts sector in Indiana contributes a not insignificant $8 billion annually to the state’s GDP—and that metric only accounts for nonprofit arts; it doesn’t even scratch the surface of other creative industries like photography, marketing and advertising, industrial design, fashion, music, film, print and digital media, and retail.
The full scope of Indiana’s creative economy remains an enigma, largely because we’re not tracking it comprehensively. Creative Crossroads isn’t just an event; it’s a rallying cry for statewide collaboration. It’s about establishing a framework to better manage and measure the economic impact of our creative industries, thereby elevating Indiana’s national reputation as a hub for talent, innovation, and quality of life.
The Summit, hosted at The Stutz on October 27, will be accompanied by the launch of PATTERN magazine vol. 24—a special issue celebrating Indy’s creative entrepreneurs. Explore a sponsorship, purchase a ticket, and join this critical conversation about Indiana’s creative economy.