Bridgeway Capital invites regional leaders from the economic development and creative sectors to participate in the Alliance for Creative Rural Economies (ACRE) Symposium.

The ACRE Symposium will allow the program’s participants and practitioners to share emerging best practices and lessons learned. It will also feature insights from key thought leaders of creative economy development in western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. Attendees of the ACRE Symposium will strengthen their shared understanding of the possibilities for creative economy development locally and regionally.

Register for the ACRE Symposium

Space is very limited so RSVP soon! Please use the invite-only password sent to invitees when registering.

Register

A Growing Movement

ACRE brings creativity-driven economic development to communities across western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia. ACRE’s partnering organizations support creative entrepreneurs (makers, designers, artists, craftspeople, and small-batch manufacturers) who are committed to sustaining and scaling their businesses in ways that benefit their communities. Over 90 creative entrepreneurs from five places – Johnstown, New Kensington, Greensburg, Wheeling, and Morgantown – have participated in the ACRE program and received support from Bridgeway and its programmatic partners. Through their entrepreneurial spirit, vision, and determination, these individuals are not just opening storefronts. They’re unlocking doors to opportunity, revitalizing communities, and paving the way for economic empowerment in low-income areas.

THE AGENDA

Wednesday, May 15, 2024, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

At the Touchstone Center for Crafts

 

  • 9:30 am – Participant Arrival and Networking
  • 10:00 am – Symposium Opens & Welcome
      • Adam Kenney, Managing Director of Programs, Bridgeway Capital
      • Lindsay Ketterer-Gates, Executive Director of Touchstone Center for Crafts
  • 10:10 am – Speakers
      • Bill Woodrum, Senior Program Manager of The Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation
      • Karl Blischke, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts
  • 10:30 am – Partner Insights
    • Topic: What have been community opportunities and challenges?
      • ACRE Johnstown
      • ACRE Wheeling
      • ACRE New Kensington
      • ACRE Greensburg
      • ACRE Morgantown
  • 11:30 am – Lunch
  • 12:30 pm – Break Out Sessions
    • Topic: What more can be done to make the creative economy a driver for revitalization in rural communities?
  • 1:45 pm – Session Insight Sharing
  • 2:30 pm – Closing Remarks and Calls to Action
  • 3:00 pm – Symposium Concludes
  • 3:10 pm – Tour of Touchstone’s Campus

Speakers

Bill Woodrum

Senior Program Officer for
Community and Economic Development

Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation 

Bill Woodrum manages a broad portfolio of programs focused on building resilient communities and a vibrant economy for West Virginia. Prior to his current role with Benedum, Bill co-founded the WV Entrepreneurship Ecosystem and worked in several programs promoting economic development, technology commercialization, and small business development.

Karl Blischke

Executive Director
Pennsylvania Council on the Arts

 Karl Blischke has more than 20 years of hands-on experience and overall managerial responsibility, promoting vibrant and prosperous communities through cultural and economic development. In Pennsylvania, Karl was part of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, directing its Arts in Education and Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts programs, which provide unprecedented access to arts funding and technical assistance for the creative industry in the commonwealth’s 67 counties.

Facilitators

Adam Kenney

Managing Director of Programs
Bridgeway Capital

Adam Kenney brings innovation and vision to Bridgeway Capital’s small business support programs. In addition to leading Bridgeway’s programming, he built the Creative Business Accelerator, Monmade, PG&H, ACRE, and ORIGINS programs at Bridgeway, which support over 2,500 creative businesses across the region and channel the CDFIs’ economic development capabilities into the regional creative economy.

Dawn Seckler

Managing Director of Strategy and Development
Bridgeway Capital

Dawn leads Bridgeway’s strategy and fundraising efforts focused on equitable economic opportunity and community revitalization. She has substantial experience raising funds from federal grants and private foundations to bring resources and innovative programs that take a market-based approach to supporting economically disadvantaged communities.

About Touchstone Center for Crafts

1049 Wharton Furnace Rd, Farmington, PA 15437

Touchstone is a residential craft school located in the beautiful Laurel Highlands of Western Pennsylvania. It offers immersive educational workshops in a wide range of art and craft forms, including painting, blacksmithing, ceramics, glassmaking, metalsmithing, and much more. Touchstone attracts students and teachers from across the country to its wooded campus. It is a founding partner with ACRE and has provided creative entrepreneurs in the ACRE program with professional development experiences.

Register for the ACRE Symposium

Space is very limited so RSVP soon! Please use the invite-only password sent to invitees when registering.

Register