Meet the Co-CREATORS
Part of the Pittsburgh Technology Council's inaugural Co-CREATE Creative Business Ignition Program, six entrepreneurs from different creative sectors 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.
THE CO-CREATE CLASS OF 2018
Musician, Entertainment + Creative Arts
Byron Nash is a Pittsburgh-based musician and well-known guitarist. Having toured and played sold-out venues, he has also performed with National acts ranging from Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead, Pharell Williams and N.E.R.D., Busta Rhymes, De La Soul, 50 Cent, Soul Live, Musiq Soulchild Fantasia and more. Although he's known for his electrifying, Hendrix-inspired guitar playing, Nash is also a producer having created instrumental music for the Heinz Foundation and other local organizations and businesses. Nash has also co-produced four music videos, and is respected for his tireless work ethic and gorilla-style marketing and promotion style.
Artissima Studio, Education + Community Arts
Cara is the owner of the art school, art studio, gallery, event venue, and art boutique, Artissima Studio, located in Fox Chapel, PA. Artissima offers fall and spring semester art courses for children, summer art camps, adult art classes and unique workshops throughout the year. Artissima sells artwork and merchandise from local craftsmen and acts as a local gallery. Cara obtained her BFA in drawing and painting and pursued graduate studies in visual art and curatorship at NABA in Milan, Italy. Cara’s work has been exhibited nationally and resides in private collections throughout the United States and in Europe. www.caralivorio.com www.artissimastudio.com
Artist + Founder of Start with Art
Matthew Conboy is a Pittsburgh-based multi-disciplinary artist and educator whose work focuses on movement, place, and identity. He is director and curator for Start with Art, a program that creates the youngest art collectors in the world by sending newborn babies and their families home with original, signed, and numbered photographic prints. Working in Pittsburgh with twelve artists each year and three hospitals, Start with Art will have created more than 10,000 young art collectors by the end of 2017.
Knotzland, Fashion + Textiles
Nisha Blackwell is a Pittsburgh Native and Founder of Knotzland Bowties, a Social Enterprise dedicated to rescuing high-quality textile and material waste and repurposing it into stylish bowties. The brand's uniqueness lies in its custom designs as well as it's commitment to bringing Artists, Businesses, Seamstresses and Bowtie lovers into the sustainable fashion conversation. Founded in 2014, Knotzland's Impact has been shaped through partnerships with 13 organizations, 10 Local Artists and trained 12 Seamstress. This community-centric model has helped Knotzland rescue over 200 lbs of non-biodegradable waste from entering the landfills and provided opportunities for local women to learn and make additional work-from-home income through Knotzland. Nisha's life-long passion for community, creativity, and resource conservation has led her to start a business that positively impacts both her community and the environment.
Too Many Sparkles / love, Pittsburgh Maker + Retail
After graduating from WVU, Kelly Sanders spent 20 years in New York City and San Francisco, cultivating a career in clothing design and traveling the world for companies like Victoria’s Secret, American Eagle, Walmart, and Old Navy. After collecting fabric for many years, Kelly created toomanysparkles, using upcycled fabric and pop culture to make unique notebooks, cards, and art. Toomanysparkles is sold in her Etsy shop, and at local events around town, including Handmade Arcade, The Neighborhood Flea in the Strip District, and in Market Square. On July 4 2017, Kelly opened the gift shop, love, Pittsburgh, atop Mount Washington, with her business partner, and Co-CREATE alumni Monica Yope.
SHPlates, Design + Manufacturing
Rich is a 27 year old Army combat veteran with 10 years of service. He has a love for philanthropy, particularly for animals, veterans, and kids causes. Rich is a graduate of the Harvard CORe program (will be by August, just figure you'll use this bio later!) and used to work at Google Pittsburgh. Rich started SHplates, his company that produces metal artwork with a patented process, entirely by accident when he created a ruck plate for his own use, shared it on his Facebook, and got bombarded with requests for them.