On Thursday, Feb. 28, the Detroit Regional Chamber hosted the 2013 Detroit Policy Conference at the MotorCity Casino Hotel. The 2013 conference hosted over 450 entrepreneurs, small business owners, major corporations and civic partners, and addressed hot button issues for Detroit as well as opportunities for urban and suburban businesses.
One of the conference highlights was the highly anticipated breakout session focused on the emergence of the creative industry in the “D.” Panelist for this discussion included Linda McIntosh, marketing director of Somerset Collection; Tim Smith, president and CEO of Skidmore Studio; George N’Namdi, president of N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art; and Karen Buscemi, editor of StyleLine magazine. The lively session was moderated by Toby Barlow, chief creative officer of Team Detroit.
According to the Detroit Regional Chamber website, the support of Chrysler, Quicken Loans, GalaxE.Solutions and other major corporations committed to the Motor City, is reinvigorating the arts and the Detroit brand is strengthening — representing raw innovation, creative freedom and true grit. This is reflected in the city’s growing design, art and fashion sectors, all of which are utilizing this rebranding to help attract talent and consumers while defining Detroit in the eyes of the world.
Buscemi indicated poor communication and branding were to blame for the city’s artistic brain drain.
“When people talk about Detroit’s offerings, we hear auto manufacturing, technology and advertising,” she said. “But why isn’t Detroit known for it’s burgeoning arts community? Or fashion and accessories designers? This is mainly because the general public just isn’t aware. And, unfortunately, our great talent is graduating from college and leaving the state to make a career elsewhere because they think the opportunities just don’t exist here. This breakout session helped to shine a light on these issues and uncovered a few great solutions to help fix them.”
N’Namdi concluded the discussion on a positive note, saying, “Based on today’s attendance, we are headed in the right direction. This event was very well attended and the candid, spirited conversation is what we needed. The arts will definitely be a major part of Detroit’s revival but we need to keep these conversations going and welcome more artists into the fold.”