Meet the 2016-17 Co-CREATORS
Part of the Pittsburgh Technology Council's inaugural Co-CREATE Creative Business Ignition Program, this illustrious group of creatives will be working together over a 10-month cycle to elevate their creative businesses in Pittsburgh, and around the nation. Providing Ignition Grants, shared work space, entrepreneurship education, mentorship, and community engagement opportunities, the Co-CREATE program offers immersive PTC services to early-stage creative entrepreneurs seeking to take their work to the next level. Co-CREATE culminates each spring, with a special demo-day at the CREATE Festival Innovation Salon, during the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival.
Geek Art / Green Innovators Festival
Christine Bethea is a 20-year veteran of arts administration, who has worked with national organizations, nonprofits, universities and local government to advance the visibility of the Pittsburgh and its arts community. She is the Event Director/Curator of ARTica, a popular gallery in the east end. In addition, Bethea is the winner of awards for business and arts collaborations which include recognition from the Pittsburgh Arts Council, the Hill House Association and a DATA award from the Pittsburgh Technology Council for founding the city's first eco, tech and arts festival--Geek Art/Green Innovators. As Western Pennsylvania heritage quilter and salvage artist, Bethea's work has been archived with the Senator John Heinz History Center and the Library of Congress.
Ashley Cecil is a Pittsburgh-based artist and illustrator specializing in paintings of flora and fauna. Her love affair with all things organic and wild has blossomed as the result of studying landscapes with accomplished master painters in London, while earning her master's degree at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art. Ashley has been an artist in residence at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, has participated in internationally renowned arts festivals, launched a line of home decor and fashion accessories, created artwork for the label of a libation consumed by millions, and talked about her work face-to-face with President Obama. Apropos of Pittsburgh’s industrial heyday, Ashley paints in an old mechanic's garage retrofitted for her studio. From there, she continues to add to her client list, which includes Oxfam America, Early Times Bourbon, and Pittsburgh Quarterly. www.ashleycecil.com
Lori Hepner is a Pittsburgh-based interdisciplinary fine artist, working primarily in conceptually based photography, LED device artworks, as well as curating exploratory journeys for other artists. Lori’s work has been featured in Time Magazine’s Lightbox, Next Level Magazine’s Pittsburgh edition, Wired Magazine, and has been exhibited internationally in places such as the Houston Center for Photography, Carnegie Museum of Art, Duke University, the Brooklyn Museum, and in photo festivals in the Netherlands, China, and Spain. One of her Twitter portraits from Status Symbols will be sent to the moon by CMU’s entry into the Google Lunar X Prize in 2017. Lori has degrees from RISD and RIT and is currently Associate Professor of Integrative Arts at Penn State University, Greater Allegheny in Pittsburgh, PA www.lorihepner.com
Gina Mazzotta Millnery
Gina Mazzotta Millinery was founded in 2012. With a background in visual and window design for brands such as Dolce & Gabbana and Armani Exchange, Gina fused her millnery training with the experiences she gained in the fashion industry. Gina’s work has been showcased in the city’s top publications – The Post-Gazette, WHIRL Magazine and Pittsburgh Magazine. Her pieces have dazzled guests at some of the city’s premiere events such as the Steelers Style fashion show, The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy’s Annual Spring Luncheon and the FashionAFRICANA fashion show. Dubbed the “Mad Hatter of Pittsburgh,” Gina and her works of art have changed the landscape of fashion for the women of Pittsburgh, and she’s now set her sights on making her pieces accessible to women across the country. www.ginamazzotta.com
Monica Yope is the owner and instructor at Pop Craft, a crafting business that makes it easy for anyone to be creative. Pop Craft hosts maker workshops at Pittsburgh bars, making "making" accessible and fun. She is an avid crafter with a passion for helping other people be creative. She most enjoys drawing, working with concrete, and experimenting with new crafts. Prior to founding Pop Craft, Monica worked for eight years in Procurement and Project Management. When she’s not crafting, Monica captains her rec volleyball team, volunteers as an Urban Eco Steward, plays trivia, and throws themed parties. Monica is currently working on new craft workshops using reclaimed wood. www.popcraftart.com
Heather + Dave Wechter
Heather and Dave Wechter are the co-founders of tribepool, LLC, a mobile application designed to resolve families’ transportation challenges, as well as a social platform that encourages community connectivity.
Heather Wechter envisioned tribepool after recognizing the need for such a carpooling platform to meet the day-to-day transport scheduling challenges of her extended family. Heather volunteers for a variety community organizations and holds a B.F. A. from Pratt Institute in Merchandising.
Dave Wechter is a successful entrepreneur who has helped to develop and promote industry-changing ideas and software solutions for capital markets including Sentry, a collateral management platform for financial institutions. Dave holds a B.S. from Allegheny College in Computer Science.