Making for makers at the CREATE Festival

You’re doing something right when asked to make awards to honor fellow creatives for their talent.

Over the past 10 months, I’ve been participating in the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s (PTC) Co-CREATE Program (think of it as a business course tailored to Pittsburgh artist and creatives). In addition to workshops on intellectual property, marketing and more, my cohorts were a fantastic focus group that helped me navigate launching my first bird-safe window films.

 Awards for the 2017 CREATE Festival by Ashley Cecil
The opportunity also led to an exciting commission – designing and fabricating awards for artists and makers recognized at the PTC’s CREATE Festival on June 1. This was the reason I needed to finally prioritize mastering use of a laser cutter to fabricate my hand-painted designs as 3D artwork. This design, adapted from my 2016 series of bird conservation paintings, appropriately features Mountain Laurel (Pennsylvania’s state flower) and the dearly loved PA Keystone symbol. 

Awardees of the 2017 CREATE Festival
It warmed my heart to see more than a dozen people I look up to receive these awards (shown above from left to right: Ricardo Iamuuri Robinson, Nisha Blackwell, Lenka Clayton, and Jon Rubin). They’re doing the work in the arts and creative industries that make Pittsburgh distinct and exceptional.

Drawing installation at the August Wilson Center by Ashley Cecil
The festival was also an opportunity for me to talk about how art can support bird conservation. Festival-goers first saw my pattern of bird local species drawn on the windows of the August Wilson Center where the festival was held. A few words about the impact of bird-window collisions were included in the installation on the highly reflective glass – an appetizer alluding to more to come on the topic during my presentation title, “Bird Conservation Through Art and Science.” 

Artist Ashley Cecil presents at the 2017 CREATE Festival
On stage, Matt Webb (the Urban Bird Conservation Coordinator for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History) and I shared our experience of collaborating during my artist residency at the museum in 2016 in creating patterns for windows that would prevent birds from flying into the reflective surfaces. The CREATE Festival offered the perfect stage (literally and figuratively) to announce the first of two new bird-safety films featuring my artwork were on the market.

It’s wonderful to live in Pittsburgh where there’s meaningful and growing support of what my fellow creatives and I do. 


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