First ever Creative Exchange Conference planned for August 5-7 in Fayetteville

There’s a new conference coming to Fayetteville this summer with an aim to help talented artists and creative folks turn their passion into a career.

The first ever Creative Exchange Conference, described as “a multidisciplinary arts conference focused on professional and business development” is planned for Aug. 5-7 in downtown Fayetteville.

The conference, organized by the newly established NWA Creative Arts Network in collaboration with the New Design School, will include seminars, panel discussions, and keynote speakers, along with networking events and public performances intended to give attendees the savvy they need to succeed in the world of business. Topics covered at the event will include best business practices, marketing, accounting, legal issues, and funding.

“Think of it as business boot camp for artists and creatives,” said Lauren Embree, Executive Director for NWA Creative Arts Network. “If we don’t support our creative community, we’ll lose it.”

Organizers say they hope the conference will empower attendees to turn their creative ideas into viable local businesses.

“If you have an idea to launch a project, product or business, but have no idea where to begin, this will be a great place to gain friends and information that can help you,” says Sonia Davis Gutierrez, founder and president of New Design School and one of the organizers of the conferece. “All creative people inherently create unique products and services, but have traditionally not been trained in business, including marketing, legal and financial aspects—we have an untapped economy and we are going to give them the support they need to build their dreams.”

The group is collaborating with several other area organizations to produce this inaugural event, which will feature representatives from New Design School, Arkansas Arts Council, and Startup Junkie, among others.

Workshops led by artists and industry professionals will present a variety of topics related to the business of art. General business workshops will be offered as well, covering topics like tax management, contracts for artistic work, copyright and trademark law, social media marketing, and public relations.

Field sessions will be offered on photography, tour management, working with commercial galleries, funding film production, best practices for auditions, and others.

Along with workshops and field sessions, the event will include curated panel discussions featuring artists, thought leaders, policy makers and industry professionals speaking on a variety of topics including the cultural landscape of Northwest Arkansas, public art, arts advocacy, and more.

Keynote speakers for the inaugural conference will be announced in June.

Tickets for CXC are available for an early-bird price of $85, and includes access to all keynotes, workshops, panels, performances, and special events over the conference weekend (The price will increase to $125 after June 1st).

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit