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Five Reasons Every Artist in Town Should Be at the Chicago Creative Expo

Every artistic go-getter in town better have plans to hit the tenth annual Creative Chicago Expo today (or tomorrow).

Are you an artist wondering how to get ahead in Chicago? Or a musician looking to connect to some others? Got any plans this weekend? Cancel them. You need to check out the city’s Creative Chicago Expo.

In case you’re unfamiliar, every year the city produces an excellent event called the Creative Chicago Expo. This year, the tenth anniversary, it includes an extraordinarily generous offering of workshops, demos, lectures, and mentoring for all types of creatives—artists, musicians, designers, writers, filmmakers, arts administrators, producers, actors, and anyone who identifies as a creative worker—looking to boost their professional career. It’s not often that the city hands out tips on business planning, accounting, social media, and job hunting, so I’ve selected a few standout workshops and lectures, but check the website for a full list of activities.

0 to 60 Ideation Mapping
User-experience design technology may be the best way to attract new audiences. Randy Ellis of Appsterdam Chicago shows how interactive software on smart phones and tablet devices can be used by artists and audiences to meet one another in the cloud. Friday, March 1, noon.

Present Yourself with Clarity and Confidence
As we all know, first impressions count in a big way. Mare Swallow of the Chicago Writers Conference gives tips on how to emit confidence during interviews, in print, or when when cozying up to some suits. Friday, March 1, 1:30pm.

Overload: Cultivating a Trustworthy Brand and Cutting through the Noise
Chris Kaskie, President of Pitchfork, gives one of the expo’s keynote lectures. The indie-music digital publication was founded in Chicago and has totally altered the field of music journalism. In anticipation of Pitchfork Festival this summer, hear what Kaskie thinks about directing the taste of music consumers all over the globe. Friday, March 1, 3pm.

USA Projects: We help artists fund projects
Artist grants can seem like an elusive, insider’s game, which this workshop hopes to demystify. The local artist Lauren Levato  shares how she successfully acquired funding for her art project, alongside Jesse Rosen of the fundraising agency USA Projects. Saturday, March 2, 10:30am.

For Profit as the Future: Why Nonprofit Must Die
I like the bold title of this presentation. It challenges the notion that arts organizations should only break even in order to be a community service. CEO of Gorilla Tango Theater, Dan Abbate, lectures on “why arts organizations and creative endeavors must become for-profit to thrive in today’s environment.” Saturday, March 2, 3pm.

Creative Chicago Expo runs Friday, March 1 and Saturday, March 2, 10am–4pm, at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E Washington. All events are free to attend.

Jason Foumberg is Chicago magazine’s contributing art critic.

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