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Event Summary: PARK Edmonton Artist and Design Forum

By: Breanne Fisher

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend PARK’s first one-day conference in Edmonton. PARK, which stands for “Promoting Artists, Redefining Kulture”, works to support and mentor emerging artists within the community.  The conference was a means to bring these creative minds together for a day of discussion, collaboration, and exploration. The topic of entrepreneurship was particularly focused on throughout the day; providing all attendees with information on successfully launching and growing a creative business.

If you missed it, you missed out. I can only imagine what a foreigner — who knew nothing about Edmonton and just wandered into the conference — would have thought of the day. He or she probably would have blown away by how much talent this City encompasses; as well the humility and unpretentiousness of our incredible artists. Everyone there, no matter what stage they were in their career, really just had the desire to learn and grow—which was met, wholeheartedly, by all of the speakers.


Just getting started for a day of fresh ideas and inspiration.

Just getting started


The Highlights

Justine Barber, Co-founder of Poppy Barley started the show with her insights on Designing a Creative Business. She shared that “the reality of starting a creative business is that it requires a lot of non-creative work.” Coming from a business background, her advice for participants focused on first building a foundation, finding your brand’s creative niche, and fully analyzing your business’ viability.

Malorie Urbanovitch and Michael Meneghetti, Founders of Malorie Urbanovitch Ready to Wear presented next on the topic Cultivating Your Aesthetic: Defining Your Mission and Brand. Their talk was sincere and humble— conveying what lessons they have learned along the way from launching and nurturing their own brand. Tips, including, “take what others have to say, but trust your instincts”, and “create an aesthetic that is discernible and has a clear voice”, resonated well with the audience.

Kari Haddad, Co-founder of Workhall Boutique took to the stage to present on Creating a Successful Sales Model. She emphasized the importance on building an image that people will trust and relate to. The importance of embodying your brand was also articulated well in her presentation, as well as clearly defining why people will want to purchase your product.

Caroline Gault, Alberta Editor of FASHION Magazine delivered an entertaining talk on How to Pitch your Brand to Media. Her wealth of experience shone through and her guidance appeared to be exactly what the audience was looking for. Caroline looks for a few key things when deciding whether or not to write about someone, including: whether they have a website, a look book or quality photos, and if they are prompt and professional.


Caroline Gault on "How to Pitch Your Brand to Media"

Caroline Gault: “How to Pitch Your Brand to Media”


Josh Holinaty, Designer, Illustrator and Instructor at Guru Digital Arts College, burst into the room with heaps of energy. His presentation on Making it as an Illustrator was filled with his incredible illustrations and nuggets of wisdom. Josh stressed why it’s important to take risks and get out of your comfort zone.


Josh Holinaty speaks on "Making it as an Illustrator"

Josh Holinaty: “Making it as an Illustrator”


Nicole Campre, Founder and Designer at Campre Clothing and Workhall Boutique, was next and skillfully presented on her own journey: Two Years In —The Journey of an Emerging Clothing Designer. She shared how important connecting with the community was in her own career, as well as building a team of supporters.


Nicole Campre on the "Journey of an Emerging Clothing Designer"

Nicole Campre: “The Journey of an Emerging Clothing Designer”


The last presentation of the day was from Ken Bautista, Founder of Startup Edmonton. As a successful entrepreneur himself, his delivery of The Artist as an Entrepreneur was well-received and greatly appreciated by the room of aspiring business professionals. Ken feels that there are a lot of similarities between being an artist and being an entrepreneur, some of which are: creativity, passion and vision. He also shared how important it is to continually focus on your brand’s overall value: “Get people talking about the value, not the cost.”

The Startup Edmonton studio was abuzz with the energy of new ideas throughout the day. The breaks and lunch also provided all participants with the opportunity to mingle with the presenters and other artists. The overall length of the day could have been shortened, but it was a fantastic conference, full of inspiration and creativity. Thanks to PARK for providing a great resource for Edmonton’s emerging talent. Hope you come back to Edmonton again soon.

(Special mention to sponsors Startup Edmonton, Poppy Barley, and Mercer Tavern.)



From January 26 to 29th, Edmonton’s NextGen is proud to be programming partner of the Community Centre Pavilion at METROPOLIS, Edmonton’s newest celebration of winter culture. With a focus on engaging Edmontonians, ages 18 – 40, in making the City of Edmonton a place they choose to work, live, learn and play, the four days of programming feature a Best of NextGen schedule of events plus a variety of creative collaborations with next generation community organizations. All activities are free of charge and open to all ages, unless otherwise stated.

6:30 PM Doors, 7:30 PM Presentations | January 26 | PECHA KUCHA: METROPOLIS

Pecha Kucha Nights have become one of Edmonton’s NextGen’s most popular and enduring public events. Japanese for the phrase “the sound of chitchat”, Pecha Kucha Nights feature presentations on local ideas, projects and musings in the 20 slides x 20 second per slide format made popular world-wide by Klein Dytham Architecture.  At METROPOLIS, the public is invited to attend Pecha Kucha: Metropolis featuring “best of” presentations from the past 11 installments of the event plus fresh ideas.

Featuring Presentations from:

Ron Gilbertson, Warning: Revitalization will Dramatically Change the Character of Downtown Edmonton, EEDC (from PKN X)

Nadir Bellahmer & Mike Rivest, Media Art and Design Exposed in Edmonton (from PKN  8)

Todd Babiak, Interventions (from PKN X)

Tad Hargrave & Amy Shostak, PKN Off The Cuff  (Improv PKN)

Kevin Kossowan, Food Writer and Activist (from PKN 9)

Christopher Samuel, Starcraft: More Than Just A Game (from PKN 11)

Lisa Baroldi, Designing Downtown: A Movement (New presentation)

Shafraaz Kaba, First Nations Architecture (New presentation)

Michael Strong, Downtown Edmonton: Place, Perception, Transformation (from PKN X)


8:30 AM | January 27 | SOCIAL MEDIA BREAKFAST #13 

Edmonton’s NextGen is pleased to partner with SMBYEG as Food Sponsor of Social Media Breakfast #13, taking place right next door to METROPOLIS at the CBC Centre Stage, 10062-102 Avenue.  The Edmonton Social Media Breakfast (SMBYEG) is pleased to announce Walter Schwabe (@fusedlogic) as this month’s guest speaker.

The Awesomeness of SocialTV

Understanding the digital behaviors of today’s online audiences can help businesses accomplish their objectives far better today than in the original static Web eco-system.  Walter Schwabe, Chief Evolution Officer of fusedlogic inc., and Executive Producer of fusedlogicTV will define and discuss the impact of digital behaviors such as, “social viewing” now associated with traditional television programming and how it’s changing the industry as a whole.  Further, he’ll demonstrate how the entertainment industry has effectively integrated into the social eco-system, while discussing the impact of social viewing data which is affecting entertainment expenditures.

Overall, Walter’s talk on SocialTV will look to reveal interesting behavioral patterns associated with this evolving space for your viewing, tweeting and blogging pleasure. Register for Social Media Breakfast #13 at

6:30 PM| January 27 | MEÆT 1.5

A project of Edmonton’s NextGen ENGAGE, producers of the popular DIYalouge forums, MEÆT1.5 brings local creatives and new philanthropists together for an evening of short proposals followed by a shared meal. At the end of the meal, all diners vote on which proposal receives the pot of funds to move forward with their project: immediate funding for awesome ideas! Presenters and diners are encouraged to register in advance at; a minimum donation of $10 for dinners is suggested.

MEÆT1.5 is supported by JCI Edmonton. JCI Edmonton is dedicated to the development of opportunities that empower young Edmontonians to create positive change. Founded in 1929, JCI Edmonton encourages young professionals to Be Better and is part of a global movement with more than 200,000 members, creating positive change in the communities they call home.


Visitors are encouraged to explore their creative sides with a number of interactive activities, events include:

  • interVivos presents A Minute to Win It | Ongoing
  • Break dance jam | 1 PM – 4 PM
  • Open hoop / spinning jam | 4 PM – 6 PM
  • artsScene presents an evening of creativity | 6 PM – 10 PM
    • Modern dance, improv and comedy performances
  • Fire spinning performance | 10 PM – 10:30 PM

Winter Wonders is made possible through the support of artsScene Edmonton and interVivos. artsScene Edmonton is a volunteer-driven non-profit initiative that brings together young creative and business professionals (ages 18 – 40) through the arts to grow Edmonton’s creative community. artsScene is a national initiative from Business for the Arts. The interVivos Mentorship Society of Alberta (interVivos) provides a welcoming, respectful forum to openly discuss issues that affect our community, province and country’s current and future social, political and economic well-being.


M.A.D.E, Media Art and Design Edmonton hosts a Snow Sculpture competition in the East Gardens of Sir Winston Churchill Square. Teams can register at

A maximum of 8 teams of 2-3 people will compete to create snow furniture. Each team is provided 4 blocks of snow, sized at 0.5 cubic meters. Teams are required to bring their own hand tools and water to shape and fasten snow furniture. Powered tools are not allowed for this competition.

M.A.D.E , Media, Art, Design Exposed in Edmonton, is a young, volunteer driven, not-for-profit organization that is actively working to bring out the best in Edmonton’s design community, with a focus on the fields of architecture, graphic design, industrial design, landscape architecture, interior design, fine art, and film. The Snow Sculpture Competition is a natural extension of M.A.D.E’s popular street furniture collaboration with the Works Art & Design Festival which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary!

12 PM – 9 PM | January 29 | THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG

Old Ugly curates The Tip Of The Iceberg: featuring half hour sets from twelve of Edmonton’s most sought after independent music acts! Acts include: Jom Comyn, Camembert, Krang, Viking Fell, Brazilian Money, Jessica Jalbert, Field & Stream, Mitchmatic, Scenic Route To Alaska, Jeff Stuart & The Hearts, Liam Trimble, and 100 Mile House.

Old Ugly Recording Company is a collective of artists dedicated to creating and preserving an Edmonton musical aesthetic for audiences of all ages.

METROPOLIS is a celebration if Edmonton’s dynamic winter culture, featuring four pavilions designed by an international roster of architects and programming from a variety of community and corporate partners. Tents are fully heated. For more information, visit