Pre-Conference Events
5PM Open Studio Tour at VCCA

Want to be inspired? To kick off Create Virginia, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA), one of the world’s leading working artist retreats in Amherst, will open its doors for a rare look into the studios of writers, visual artists, and composers. Attendees will be welcome to visit the studios of select Fellows in residence, and talk to them about their work and the creative process. An Open Studio event at VCCA is always interesting, and yes, inspiring.

6 PM Opening Reception

Stick around after Open Studios to hear welcoming remarks and meet other conference attendees plus VCCA Fellows in an informal setting.

7 PM Dine Around

A renaissance is happening in Downtown Lynchburg and it has everyone hungry. Chefs are making the great migration from big cities to set up shop on cozy downtown streets and quiet nooks; and Food Network veterans are suiting up with aprons and pastry brushes to satisfy the city’s sweet tooth. Our city may look unassuming, but walk through the doors of any of our restaurants and you’ll be met with extraordinary flavor and an attention to detail that will make you want to stay for hours (and we want you to, too). 

Friday night dine around updates will be provided to registered attendees. 


Schedule coming soon. Confirmed sessions include: 

Planning a Marketing Calendar

So many people say just to create a marketing calendar to get started, but they don’t really break it down for you. Understanding your audience and be aware of the content they want and need is perfect to get planning a calendar so your efforts and assets have one central location. A marketing calendar can be your best friend. Attend our workshop and find out how. Presented by Christina Garnett.

Bridging the Communication Gap Between Creatives and Business

Sometimes it seems like creatives and business people are speaking two different languages. How can you work better with a maker space, gallery, or any other business? This session will help clear those sometimes muddy waters between art and business. Presented by Elise Spontarelli.

Social Listening

Your “brand” is what people say behind your back, but what are they actually saying? Social listening is a crucial way to determine your brand perception and opportunities for improvement. Social listening is key to understanding your buyer is looking for and be able to reach out to the right buyer or audience. Presented by Christina Garnett.


Pricing – it can be the most challenging decision you make. How do you determine a fair price for your work? What is included in the price for your art? How do you sell your art without selling your soul? Presented by Marc Willson

Creative Mental Health Check

Working as a creative can be lonely and using your creativity to make art and be emotionally draining. It’s important to keep a check on your mental health, so you can stay productive and active. For this workshop, learn self-care techniques and ways to “check-in” with yourself to keep the creative juices flowing. Presented by Karena Heyward.

Merchandising and Display Basics

When you are setting up to sell in a shop or at a show, how do you display your stuff so that people want to buy it, and so that it shows your work in the best possible light? Get advice from a retail expert on how display, lighting, and presentation can help you make that sale. Presented by Marc Willson.

Springboard Workshop: Artist Portfolio Kit

Based on the Springboard for the Arts’ Work of Art program in Minnesota, this workshop will lead you through developing an artist Portfolio Kit. What needs to be in there, how do you share your portfolio, and why it’s so important to keep it up to date. Presented by Kim Soerensen.

Business Model Canvas: Creating a one page business plan

A one-page business “plan” that helps you quickly understand and communicate your creative business idea or concept? Business Model Canvas is a strategic management and lean startup template for developing new or documenting existing business models. A visual chart with elements describing different parts of your idea – it can be helpful for creatives by illustrating potential trade-offs and clarifying activities. Presented by Eric Byrd. 

Crowd Funding: Pitfalls and Strategies

You’ve heard the media stories about thousands raised on crowd funding sites like Go Fund Me. Can you do that, too? This session will look at the realities of seeking funding through these on-line sources. Presented by Elise Spontarelli.

From Fear to Action

Creatives have to work past fear to learn to take action for their creative business. Having fear is natural, and we can learn skills to move past it to take action. This workshop will help creatives find strategies get past fear and imposter syndrome to take next steps. Presented by Karena Heyward. 

Look out for the Tax Man!

A short walk through your Schedule C, the income tax form most of us file each year for taxes. We’ll discuss what needs to be reported where, how you know where to get the numbers, common business deductions, how your business affects your personal tax situation, self-employment taxes, and more, focused on the work of artists. Presented by Charese Chambers.

Making the Most of the Media

You know you should write press releases and to ask the news to cover your events, but how do you that? Learn from Virginia journalists about why writing press releases are important for artists and creatives, and how to make them professional and impactful. We’ll chat about what to expect when working with journalists, how to know if you’re “newsworthy”, how to create a media list that is relevant to artists, and other best practices. Presented by Tim Saunders of WDBJ and Josh Jackson of WVTF. 

Secure Your Spot

Conference tickets are on sale now