Connecting Pittsburgh Creatives

Thursday, June 19 at the Hillman Auditorium, Hill House 8:30 – noon, breakfast included

Free, RSVP here.

How can Greater Pittsburgh become the next Austin, Boston, or Portland as a center for creativity, innovation, and economic growth? How can we effectively compete with our new competitors?

The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council, in association with the Pittsburgh Technology Council and Echo Strategies, invites you to explore these questions and more at Connecting Pittsburgh Creatives, an important conversation about the state and potential of the creative industries in our region. The 2014 Pittsburgh Creative Industries Report says one key is collaboration among clusters of the creative industries. These include the non-profit arts and individual artists, which bring capital and many assets to partnerships to create new energy, innovation, and activity in our region. Another key is addressing equity and inclusion, as studies have shown that diverse perspectives drive innovation.

You are invited to engage these issues, listen to leaders in the field, meet potential collaborators beyond the usual suspects, and join small group discussion to move the findings from this report into action. The Connecting Pittsburgh Creatives program will:

  • Introduce non-profit arts administrators and artists to research on all “clusters” of the creative industries (arts, communications, data technologies, design, entertainment, software & hardware)
  • Present examples of current partnerships, and
  • Identify, as a group, new opportunities for cross-sector collaboration and others involving universities, public agencies, and service providers.
  • Connecting Pittsburgh Creatives provides a platform for us to rise to the challenge of creating new partnerships and collaborations, benefitting us as individuals and organizations, and positioning artists and the arts sector as recognized forces in regional economic development. GPAC is thrilled to stage this initial exploration in a thriving Hill District center for the arts. Light breakfast will be served.

Also, please save the date for Connecting Pittsburgh Creatives II, Tuesday, July 11, 2014, 8:30 am – Noon, at Point Park University, 204 Lawrence Hall.This program will continue the dialogue, introducing creative industries representatives to assets of the non-profit arts and artists, creating new connections, and examining the future climate for collaboration.  

DATA 2014: Two-day Creative Tech Party Rocks Pittsburgh

Hundreds of artists, techies, entrepreneurs and innovators congregated in Pittsburgh this year for the sixth annual DATA (Design, Art and Technology Awards) event on May 7 & 8.

This two-day innovation-palooza featured presenters, projects and fun from all around the US, and as far as the UK, Australia and Lithuania. The event kicked off on Day One with a Creative Clash mixer at WoodStreet Galleries, Pittsburgh’s international art + tech gallery.

Day Two started off with the Creative Technologies Conference, a full-day packed with talks, panels and workshops on the coolest trends in creativity and innovation; keynotes, Willo O’Brien, Co-Founder of YXYY, and blogger Penelope Trunk, rocked the house — along with 16 other presenters. The big finale happened the last night at the Design, Art and Technology Awards party, where over 75 international creative tech finalists were honored for their awesome work this year! The ten DATA Award Winners, chosen by a national public jury of over 10,000 votes, were awarded hand-crafted art and tech by artist Sandy Kessler Kaminski.

The Pittsburgh Technology Council first held this annual event in 2008, spearheaded by Kim Chestney Harvey, founding Director of the event and the Art+ Technology Initiative. The event has been hosted by an array of innovators, including: Burton MorrisCirque Du Soleil’s Lyn HewardWil Wright - Creator of the Sims games series, J Moses and Chip Walter.

Check out pics from the event below. There is also a cool little video documentary here. To see the list of finalists, agenda and more fun, visit the DATA web page at: Follow the activity at #PTCDATA.

4 Big Thinkers You Can’t Miss at DATA 2014 – Two Weeks from Today!

Some Great People You Will Meet at DATA 2014:

DATA 2014 Featured Keynotes


International Career Guru and Entrepreneur, Penelope Trunk has molded a generation of the young minds that are shaping our workforce. She is the founder of three startups, and her career advice has appeared in more than 200 newspapers and magazines worldwide. Penelope’s unconventional writing has established her as one of the world’s foremost career bloggers and thinkers. She has been called the “world’s most influential guidance counselor” by Inc. Magazine, with “advice that is practical, counter-intuitive and engaging” according to Wired Magazine. She is the author of the best-selling book Brazen Careerist – The New Rules for Success, and blogs at Find out all her secrets and compelling ideas about the future of our workforce at DATA 2014!


Willo O’Brien is an entrepreneur and co-founder of the illustrious YXYY unconference in Palm Springs. Willo O’Brien cultivates magic at the intersection of art + tech + business. In the last decade, she has founded three creative businesses and served as co-founder of two startups. Empowering individuals and passionate entrepreneurs to stay connected to their creativity and passion, her work focuses on “creative sustainability,” and helping others to launch their dreams.


18 Presenters from around the globe talk innovation and creativity!


Danny Boice is the Co-Founder & CTO of Speek, a Series A funded web & mobile startup. A serial entrepreneur and executive for more than 10 years, he is a published expert on startups, technology, user experience and design in the Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Fast Company, Inc., Forbes, Fortune and others, and graduated from Harvard University. Danny is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University teaching startup 101 and Lean Startup methodology classes.

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Phil Gilbert is the General Manager of IBM Design, from Austin, Texas. Great brands are known for the design of their products and for understanding how design can fuel client loyalty and longstanding relationships. Phil will talk about the new era of product design, and reveal the secrets to staying in synch with today’s rapidly evolving technologies.

Only two weeks until the Hottest Creative Tech Party of the Year!
May 7-8, Pittsburgh Cultural District
DATA 2014 is 3 cool events in one! Get tickets now for one, or all!

May 7, 5pm: Creative Clash at WoodStreet Galleries
Mix n mingle with art n techies from all across the nation at one of the coolest new media galleries around! We will be kicking off DATA with art, tech, music, magic, cocktails….and fun!

May 8, 9am-5pm: National Creative Technologies Summit
A full day packed with ideas and inspiration by and for artists, entrepreneurs, geeks, investors, makers, innovation leaders, students and regular ole folks. Topics include design, gaming, film & television, robotics, mobile applications, education, edutainment, new media advertising, industrial design, architecture, animation, social networks, music, fine art, and much more!

May 8, 6pm: Design, Art + Tech Party and Exhibit and Awards
The event grande finale is a party, exhibition and awards celebration all in one! Dance and hob-nob to the tunes of DJ Thermos, check out the latest and greatest finalist projects in the interactive exhibition, peruse the DATA Poster Party art, celebrate the awesome DATA winners, eat, drink and be merry!




Drupal Global Training Days Pittsburgh

Drupal Global Training Days is an initiative by the Drupal Association to introduce new and beginning users to Drupal. This half-day workshop will address the basics of Drupal, and will give an overview to those interested in evaluating or implementing Drupal.

This first session will assist decision makers at mid to large sized organizations in deciding if Drupal is the right choice for their projects big and small.  We will also provide your IT staff with technical information to help them determine if Drupal can be integrated with their current systems. And finally, we will demonstrate the ease of use for your IT staff and Website Managers regarding both user management and content management in Drupal.

The first part of the presentation will be an introduction to Drupal and it’s community:

  • What is Drupal
  • Is Drupal the right tool for me
  • What specific benefits can Drupal bring to my organization.
  • The power of the Drupal Community and it’s benefits

The second part of the presentation will take a look at the back end of Drupal:

  • Content Types, Views, Blocks and Taxonomy - We will discuss content types, fields, views, blocks, taxonomy and how they all work together.
  • Security, Accessibility and Compliances - We will discuss cyber security and what is necessary to keep Drupal secure. We will also explore the accessibility tools and how they can be best used for your needs.
  • Modules and Updating Drupal - We will discuss drupal core, distributions, themes and modules, as well as integrating Drupal with third party systems.
  • Content and User Management - We will discuss roles, permissions and content management.

After the presentations we will open the floor up for one-on-one and hands-on discussions.  So come prepared, bring lots of questions and don’t forget any login info or links if you want to discuss your website or project.

There will be limited Wi-Fi at the event, so bring a hotspot if you need online access.


Wins Day: Economic Development Deals Up 12% in Pittsburgh Region

 The diverse, balanced and innovation-driven economy that made Pittsburgh a great American comeback story continues to deliver value by capturing 302 economic development deals during 2013 – a 12% increase in activity over the previous year.

The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA), an affiliate of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development and the 10-county Pittsburgh region’s economic development marketing organization, today presented its annual economic development performance scorecard – a snapshot of  all of the deals, or “wins” announced in the previous year related to new facilities, expansions of existing companies, attraction/retention of companies and startups across southwestern Pennsylvania.

“The robust economic development activity in the Pittsburgh region in 2013, including a surge of wins in the information and communications technology sector, is a strong vote of confidence by business decision-makers in the future of this region and a leading indicator of future job creation,” said David J. Malone, PRA Partnership Chair and President and CEO, Gateway Financial Group, Inc.

Capital Investments of $1B+ for Seven Straight Years

The 302 regional “wins” of 2013 spanned both announced investment and development projects totaling $2.4 billion in capital investment – the seventh consecutive year that this total has exceeded $1 billion.

Investment projects accounted for $671 million in announced capital outlay and were dominated by five projects costing in excess of $40 million. They include a regional headquarters expansion for Chevron, a distribution facility for Gordon Food Service and a CSX Corporation intermodal terminal. Development projects totaled $1.8 billion in announced outlay – the second highest amount on record.

“Each county has benefited from investment, as has each of the five key industry sectors, the foundation of the region’s economy. There are investment ebbs and flows between sectors from year to year, but overall there’s balance,” said Dewitt Peart, president of the PRA.

Existing regional businesses that are expanding account for the majority of announced deals, which has been a trend for the region. In 2013, 60% t of the deals (124) involved the expansion of existing companies. Attraction wins increased from 44 in 2012 to 48 in 2013 and represent one-fourth of all the wins.

“The deals of 2013 will enlarge the regional business landscape with new and expanded existing facilities, as well as new real estate developments. This is alongside an anticipated total job impact of at least 8,700 – 1,669 jobs retained and the expectation of 6,983 jobs to be created as announced deals come to fruition. A robust job market keeps people in the region, and it helps to attract talent from elsewhere looking for new opportunities, professionally and personally,” said Peart.

Sustainable Prosperity is Powered by Partnership

“The sustainable prosperity that the Pittsburgh region is experiencing would not happen without partnership,” said Malone.  “Economic development partners from across southwestern Pennsylvania, with the support and insights of the public and private sectors, sell the strengths of the entire region – a geographically diverse place with critical commonalities around manufacturing expertise, technology and innovation and energy resources. The number of deals that we’re seeing speaks to Pittsburgh as an investment-worthy region with a legacy, ample natural and human resources and the drive to innovate.”

Sector-specific performance highlights, regarding investment activity during 2013 follow:

“Number One” Manufacturing Delivers 65 Wins to Bolster Regional Economy

Historically, the Pittsburgh region has been a hub of manufacturing. Optimized by technology, advanced manufacturing  is now a key driver of the economy and the most active sector for deals in 2013. There were 65 announced wins, an increase over the 59 recorded in 2012. “The Pittsburgh region still makes things:  specialty metals, medical devices, robots and turbines – to name a few. We’re a manufacturer to the world, capitalizing on technology to make processes precise, sophisticated and efficient,” said Peart.

 Information and Communications Technology Soars to Second Place; Tech Touches Everything

 Seeing a dramatic increase from 33 deals in 2012 to 51 deals in 2013, the region’s information and communications technology sector saw its biggest growth spike since 2008 and took second place for number of deals.

“The growth in this sector is impressive, but it’s an under-representation of information technology’s impact on the entire regional economy. Technology infuses just about everything for which we’re recognized – manufacturing, healthcare, financial services and more. Technology is integral to the successful operation of nearly every company in the region,” said Audrey Russo, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council.

“Having one of the global leaders in information technology, Carnegie Mellon University, whose School of Computer Science marks its 25th anniversary this year – is a prime reason why tech is flourishing in the region and adds value to our other key sectors,” she added.

More than Half of Region’s Open Jobs Require Tech Skills

A proof point for how integral information technology is to the overall regional economy is the number of available jobs with a technology component posted on – a web-based gateway to professional and personal opportunities in the region. Of the current 20,000-plus available jobs listed on the site, more than half require skills and experience with technology, with the majority of these jobs not with tech enterprises but in workplaces that include hospitals, banks, law firms, the chemical industry and energy companies.

Financial and Business Services Sector is Largest Contributor to Gross Regional Product

Financial and business services – encompassing asset management, banking, engineering, legal and other business services – have been a backbone of the regional economy since Pittsburgh emerged as an industrial center in the mid-1800s. This sector has been thriving since and is the largest contributor to the gross regional product (23%). In 2013, financial and business services had 39 announced projects. One of the region’s top employers, the sector employs approximately 230,000 people across a variety of professional disciplines. This represents nearly one-quarter of total regional employment. 

At the Core of Region’s Energy Sector, Natural Gas Industry Matures; Anticipates Petrochem-focused Future

Energy – a key economic driver for the region and one that cuts across several other sectors – accounted for a total of 35 wins in 2013. Natural gas is a major industry within the broader regional energy sector, which includes traditional and renewable energy resources.

In 2004, the first Marcellus Shale gas well in the region was drilled; by 2009 the Marcellus Shale opportunity had emerged in full force. Investments focused on new companies coming to the region or existing ones expanding by adding employees. These accounted for an average of 70% of all energy-related investment wins between 2009 and 2013. The boom has now stabilized. “Currently, we’re seeing a maturation of the industry,” said Futrell. “An increase in development deals, 24 in 2013, was largely tied to midstream infrastructure, such as compressors and pipelines. This is a big increase from only seven in 2011 when the industry was just ramping up here.”

Another indicator of a maturing industry in the region is number of natural gas supply chain deals. In 2013, 15 of 21 wins were related to supply chain, including products and services, such as finance and law, for natural gas firms.

On the horizon is a significant downstream opportunity related to natural gas as feedstock for the petrochemical industry.  The ethylene byproduct of ethane in natural gas liquids is a key component for manufacturing consumer goods connected with plastic or rubber: shoe soles, tires, paints and coatings, food and medicine containers, soaps and detergents and more. Ample supplies of Marcellus Shale (and nearby Utica Shale) natural gas have the potential to fuel a resurgence of manufacturing not only in the Pittsburgh region, but on American shores.  Currently, Royal Dutch Shell is considering building an ethane cracker facility 30 miles northwest of Pittsburgh in Beaver County.

Healthcare and Life Sciences:  Where Medical Research, Manufacturing and Innovation Converge

Underpinning both knowledge and innovation as drivers of the regional economy was the healthcare and life sciences sector with a total of 15 wins. The sector, in total, employs more than 140,000 people and encompasses a spectrum of companies of all sizes. Many of these capitalize on the globally regarded medical research being conducted at the University of Pittsburgh – in addition to regional strengths in manufacturing and innovation – to envision and commercialize products and services for the health and well-being of people everywhere.