October 18-21, 2018 // Bentonville, Arkansas // theheartlandsummit.org
Mainframe Studios Director Siobhan Spain was invited to the Heartland Summit to take part in an opening panel discussion titled “Secret Sauce: Recipes for Success.”
The theme of the overall conference was to #meetinthemiddle. As host The Walton Family Foundation stated:
The mission of the Heartland Summit is to showcase the exciting innovation happening between the coasts, spark frank conversations about the challenges the region is facing, and build networks to sustain economic growth and power problem solving across the country.
Widening inequality and disconnection have become defining features of American life. Education, health, income and skill gaps are leaving too many Americans behind, and keeping too many valuable assets out of our economic engine.
As a region and a nation, we are strongest when we are most connected to each other and the economy. The Heartland and the coasts need each other, not only to survive, but to thrive.
The Heartland Summit is designed to kick-start economic growth and social innovation by strengthening connections between some of our nation’s best thinkers, problem solvers and investors. Some of the best ideas for powering the Heartland’s future will come from those who know it best, who can see the paths to progress and opportunities on the horizon.
Moderated by Olivia Walton at the remarkable Crystal Bridges Museum, Siobhan was joined by Mayor of Kansas City Sly James and Co-founder of Dynamo VC
Fund in Chattanooga Santosh Sankar. The panel was there to set the tone for the rest of the weekend. The organizers wanted to showcase Heartland communities, big and small, with the right mix of economic growth, social innovation, civic leadership, creativity and investment. [Watch their video about Des Moines, Iowa]
It was an honor to be invited and heartening that the arts were invited to the discussion.
Siobhan shared the vision of Mainframe Studios and conveyed the importance of prioritizing creative professionals in building vibrant communities. She challenged the audience to assess their perception of artists – to see them not as starving or nice to have, but as change agents and leaders. Mainframe Studios is demonstrating that integrating infrastructure for individual artists in our communities is an important component in helping our region thrive. She shared that part of the secret sauce of Des Moines is the people. And, artists are not an exception to this fact.
Bring artists out of their basements, garages and dilapidated warehouses – into a professional setting with connections to community and collaborations – and what we get back is priceless. Here are just a few stories about Mainframe Studio artists that illustrate this claim:
- Community Support Advocates // Awarded the 2018 Governor’s Arts Award for their Momentum Art Program that lifts up individuals with disabilities and mental illness through art. @csa_dsm
- Tammy & Adam Winn of The Red Door Press // 27 countries so far have witnessed their wit and passion when watching Pressing On: The Letterpress Film. @thereddoorpress
- Mirza Kudic // Awarded the 2018 Iowa International Center Passport to Prosperity for his capacity to thrive and give back to his community. A Bosnian refugee who served in the Iraq war for the U.S., Mirza picked up a camera three years ago and now as many as 500,000 people view his stunning cityscapes. @welcometodesmoines
- Josh Larson of Numinous Games // Hundreds of lives have been influenced by his games that help people love each other more (his words). His latest interactive journal “Galaxies of Hope” was featured on Apple’s App Store for connecting those dealing with NET Cancer. @numinousgames
- Adam Van Wyk // A Hollywood storyboard artist, Adam lives the dream in Des Moines while working on film projects such as Secret Life of Pets, Ice Age and Despicable Me. He recently made a custom book supporting Count the Kick’s art auction that raises awareness of racial disparities in stillbirth occurrences. @adamvanwyk
- Jesse Bogenrief of JJ Gaffers // Coming from a family of internationally acclaimed stained glass artists, Jesse makes his mark through glass blowing. Collected in over 90 countries, he welcomes students of all ages to his studio. His shop created 500 glass eggs for an adventurous Water Works Park Foundation initiative in 2017. @jjgaffer
- Margo Nahas & Jay Vigon // This wife and husband team have created artwork for over 80 album covers. Some include Van Halen “1984”, Prince “Purple Rain”, Fleetwood Mac “Tusk”, Stevie Wonder “The Secret Life of Plants”, and Quiet Riot “Metal Health.” They now work on their own art projects and inspire local artists to reach for the stars. @miss_go_go, @jayvigon_artnow
- Brian Duffy // After a 25-year career as an award-winning editorial cartoonist for the Des Moines Register, Brian’s work is nationally syndicated out of Mainframe Studios. @duffyink
Make room for creatives to do their thing. Give them a high bar. Approach them the same way you do companies we are trying to attract. Artists are innovators, risk takers, connectors, entrepreneurs – and part of, not next to, our economic livelihood.
If you need stats – they’re there. Americans for the Artsis working hard to build a case for artists on your behalf. Arts and culture contributes three times as much to our country’s GDP than agriculture. It beats out construction, tourism and transportation.
Mainframe Studios is demonstrating an entirely a new model for ensuring artists are not priced out of our growing cities. We are fundraising to pay off our building and to build out our final two floors. That way, we can own our building, be financially self-sustaining and even build our own endowment. The model allows us to provide artists with what they need most: permanent affordable workspace in the heart of our city. They pay as little as $8.50 per square foot per year for utilities, fiber wifi, general liability insurance, 24/7 access.
Our waitlist includes over 85 more artists needing space to fulfill their potential. Help fund the final two floors of Mainframe Studios.