Plug In.

Friday, 09.29.17 | Gerding Theater at the Armory | #Cre8con2017

See a list of companies who registered in 2015 and/or 2016

The Portland Creative Conference is an exploration and celebration of the creative process across all creative industries. Bring your team or just bring yourself–either way you won’t leave the same as you arrived. You’ll be inspired and motivated in new ways, viewing your world with a fresh perspective. We feature presentations from leading creatives who take you inside their creative process and talk about their projects, problems, influences and inspirations. [History]

  • 00


  • 00


  • 00


  • 00


Add to My Calendar 2017-09-29 08:00:00 2017-09-29 17:00:00 America/Los_Angeles Portland Creative Conference The Portland Creative Conference is an exploration and celebration of the creative process across all creative industries. Gerding Theater at the Armory, Portland, Oregon Keeping the Arts info@cre8con.com


Here are our 3 most recent posts. See all posts.

How Your Attendance Impacts Kids in Oregon

on May 04 2017

Read More

Design Week Curation & Discount

on Apr 12 2017

Read More

Attendee Testimonials Posted

on Apr 09 2017

Read More


In the 2016 post-event survey with 87 attendees responding, 87% of attendees rated the Conference as either “Excellent” or “Very Good”; 89% said they are “Extremely Likely”, “Very Likely” or “Likely” to recommend the event to colleagues; 64% of respondents either attended as a team  from work or thought the event would be valuable for their team at work.


See a list of companies who registered in 2015 and 2016.

See 16 testimonials from 2016.  Below is a small sample:

“As a first time attendee I wasn’t sure what to expect from this event. While these speakers weren’t in my line of work I found their personal work journeys fascinating and relative to any career path and/or job function. Too often we take the safe path or pay less focus on the receiving audience for a multitude of reasons. This event was a great inspiration…”

Marci Neilsen, Xerox

“The Creative Conference to me is a unique and wonderful experience. It not only is packed with inspirational speakers, but also congregates great energy and excellent people from Portland. Prepare yourself for a day of replenishing positive vibes, for speakers with great success and stories, and for the after-party that makes a difference for your network.”

David Pan, FashioNXT

“It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in or where you’re at in life, this conference is for everyone. You WILL take away something that you can utilize immediately. Motivation and inspiration can come from diverse sources, don’t miss an opportunity to grow. You never discover what this conference has in store for you until you experience it for yourself.”

Zack G-L, What's Up This Weekend

2017 Speakers (all are keynotes, more female speakers TBA)

Wes Studi

Wes Studi

Award-winning Native American Actor (Avatar, Heat, Dances with Wolves, Geronimo: An American Legend)
Wes Studi

Wes Studi

Award-winning Native American Actor (Avatar, Heat, Dances with Wolves, Geronimo: An American Legend)

From small-town Oklahoma native to internationally acclaimed actor and musician, Wes Studi credits his passion and multi-faceted background for his powerful character portrayals that forever changed a Hollywood stereotype.

Drawing from his rich life experience, Wes moved audiences with unforgettable performances in “Dances with Wolves,” “The Last of the Mohicans,” “Geronimo: An American Legend,” and “Heat,” as well as James Cameron’s “Avatar” and Paul Weitz’s “Being Flynn.” Breaking new ground, he brought fully-developed Native American characters to the screen, and then took his craft a step further highlighting the success of Native Americans in non-traditional roles.

In 2013, he was inducted in to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum’s Hall of Great Western Performers. Throughout his 30-year career he’s won numerous awards, including several First Americans in the Arts awards and the 2009 Santa Fe Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award.

Interestingly, acting was never a goal in Wes’ youth. Unlike many actors who dive into performing at an early age, he discovered acting later in life.

The eldest son of a ranch hand, Wes was born in 1947 in Nofire Hollow, in Northeastern Oklahoma. He spoke only his native Cherokee until he was 5, when he was enrolled in the Murrell Home to attend public school. He later attended the Chilocco Indian Boarding School in Northern Oklahoma, where he remained through high school graduation. Yet, unlike many fellow Native American students, he never forgot his language.

Wes joined the U.S. Army and while stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, stories from returning Vietnam War veterans set his blood on fire. With only 12 months of his six-year service left, Wes volunteered to go to Vietnam. He served one tour in South Vietnam with the 9th Infantry Division in the Mekong Delta, living his own future war stories. At one point his company was pinned down in the Mekong Delta – and nearly killed – by friendly fire.

After an honorable military discharge, Wes returned home with a fire in the belly, and became seriously involved with Native American politics. He joined the American Indian Movement (AIM) and participated in the Trail of Broken Treaties protest march in 1972, where hundreds of Native American activists marched on Washington. He was one of the protesters who briefly occupied the Bureau of Indian Affairs Building there. In 1973, Wes participated in the occupation at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, for which he was arrested.

Wes now sees his political activism as a form of post-Vietnam catharsis. “I began to purge the bad feelings within myself,” he says, adding that he joined the resisters because “I wanted to make myself a viable part of the machinery that affected my people.”

Recognizing his current path could lead to self-destruction, Wes changed course and channeled his feelings toward positive change. Shortly after Wounded Knee, Wes moved to the Tahlequah, Oklahoma, where he worked for the Cherokee Nation, and helped start the Cherokee Phoenix, a bilingual newspaper still in publication today. During that time Wes put his linguistic skills to work and began teaching the Cherokee language in the community. Later attending Northeastern University in Tahlequah, he made further attempts at positive influence in his work with his people.

After college, Wes shifted his attention to running his own horse ranch and became a professional horse trainer. It was during this era that he began acting at The American Indian Theatre Company in Tulsa in 1983, where he found both the adrenaline rush he craved and the cathartic release he needed. “When you’re able to release those feelings in an acting form, it’s healthier than leaving them inside,” he says of discovering acting.

Wes first took the professional stage in 1984 with “Black Elk Speaks” and has never looked back. As his success grew on stage, he expanded to productions for Nebraska Public Television in the summer of 1985. Not long after, he moved to Los Angeles, landing his first film role in “Powwow Highway” and making his TV debut in a small role in the ABC TV-movie “Longarm” in 1988.

In 1990, Wes portrayed a terrifyingly memorable Pawnee warrior in “Dances with Wolves.” Two years later he landed the role of Magua in Michael Mann’s “The Last of the Mohicans,” the performance that put him on the map.

Wes drew on his own combat training, anger and sense of enforced isolation for his riveting depiction of the vengeful Magua. He soon became known for his film roles portraying strong Native American characters as he strove to portray them with poignancy and authenticity.

Wes went on to play the title character in the Walter Hill-directed film “Geronimo: An American Legend” (1993) alongside veteran actors Gene Hackman and Robert Duvall, for which he won a Western Heritage Award. He also made memorable appearances in such films as “Heat” (1995) as Al Pacino’s partner, “Deep Rising” (1998) and “Mystery Men” (1999). In 2002, he brought legendary character Lt. Joe Leaphorn to life for a series of PBS movies produced by Robert Redford and based on Tony Hillerman’s books “Skinwalkers,” “Coyote Waits,” and “A Thief of Time.”

Wes’ other notable film credits include: “The Only Good Indian,” which he also produced, “The New World,” “Street Fighter,” “Seraphim Falls,” “Three Priests,” and such prestigious television movies as “Crazy Horse,” “Comanche Moon,” “Streets of Laredo,” “Broken Chain,” and “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee.” His television credits include Showtime’s “Penny Dreadful,” “The Mentalist,” “Hell on Wheels,” and General Abner in “Kings.”

At home, Wes’ artistic talent extends well beyond acting. He’s a skilled stone carver, working primarily in soapstone and other soft stones. He’s also an accomplished musician. Playing bass and guitar he fronts the band Firecat of Discord with his wife, singer Maura Dhu, primarily performing original music. Firecat released their first self-titled CD in 1998, touring the U.S. in 2000. Their music was also featured in the short film Bonnie Looksaway’s “Iron Art Wagon,” which Wes directed.

Additionally, Wes wrote two children’s books, “The Adventures of Billy Bean” and “More Adventures of Billy Bean” for the Cherokee Bilingual/Cross Cultural Education Center. In 2006, Wes was honored with the Golden Boot Award.

Wes remains a passionate activist and academic. He’s taken a national leadership role in the promotion and preservation of indigenous languages, acting as the spokesperson for the Santa Fe-based Indigenous Language Institute, and working as a language consultant on several films, including “Avatar” and the PBS documentary “We Shall Remain.” He’s also active in encouraging the next generation of filmmakers and performers, providing mentorship and participating in apprenticeship programs.

Wes and Maura live in Santa Fe, N.M. They have one son, Kholan. Wes also has a son, Daniel, and a daughter, Leah, from a previous marriage.

Peter Kuran

Peter Kuran

Academy Award Winner. Visual Effects (Star Wars: Episode IV, Star Wars: Episode V, Men in Black, and 300 others)
Peter Kuran

Peter Kuran

Academy Award Winner. Visual Effects Artist (Star Wars: Episode IV, Star Wars: Episode V, Men in Black, and 300 others)

Peter Kuran began his career at the age of 19 working as an effects animator on the original “Star Wars” in 1977. After completing work as animation supervisor for Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) on George Lucas’ “The Empire Strikes Back”, Peter Kuran created VCE (Visual Concept Entertainment), developing it as a leader of visual imaging in motion picture production, licensing, visual effects and image restoration.

Peter has worked on visual effects for over 300 theatrical motion pictures including both “Addams Family” films and all three original “Robocop” features. VCE Films work has been seen in “Men In Black,” “The 6th Day,” “Thirteen Days,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “X-Men 2” and “The Last Samurai.” VCE Films most recent work includes “The Founder,” and “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.”

As a filmmaker, Peter has produced five documentaries on the subject of Atomic history, weapons and testing. Beginning in 1995, Peter produced and directed the award winning film “Trinity and Beyond (the Atomic Bomb Movie)” and has since produced “Atomic Filmmakers”, “Atomic Journeys”, “Nukes in Space” and “Nuclear 911.”

In 2003, Kuran won an Academy Award® in the Scientific and Technical Achievement category for RCI®, a new photochemical process he developed to restore original color negatives. This process was a direct result of the research done on restoring color for scenes in “Trinity and Beyond.”

Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch

Bestselling Author (The Small Backs of Children), 2016 Oregon Book Award's Ken Kesey Award for Fiction, Educator
Lidia Yuknavitch

Lidia Yuknavitch

Bestselling Author (The Small Backs of Children),  2016 Oregon Book Award’s Ken Kesey Award for Fiction, Educator

Lidia Yuknavitch is the author of the new novel The Book of Joan, as well as the National Bestselling novel The Small Backs of Children, winner of the 2016 Oregon Book Award’s Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and the Reader’s Choice Award.

She is also the author of the novel Dora: A Headcase, and three books of short stories. Her widely acclaimed memoir The Chronology of Water was a finalist for a PEN Center USA award for creative nonfiction and winner of a PNBA Award and the Oregon Book Award Reader’s Choice.

Her TED Talk, The Beauty of Being a Misfit, is approaching 2 million views, and she has a forthcoming book on the topic, The Misfit Manifesto, fall 2017.

Lidia founded the workshop series Corporeal Writing in Portland Oregon, where she also teaches Women’s Studies, Film Studies, Writing, and Literature.

She received her doctorate in Literature from the University of Oregon.

She lives in Oregon with her husband Andy Mingo and their renaissance man son, Miles. She is a very good swimmer.

David Walker

David F. Walker

Award-winning Comic Book Writer (Marvel, DC), filmmaker, co-founder/curator of the Portland Black Film Festival
David Walker

David F. Walker

Award-winning Comic Book Writer (Marvel, DC), filmmaker, co-founder/curator of the Portland Black Film Festival

David F. Walker started his writing career in the 1990s with the self-published ‘zine, BadAzz MoFo. He is an award-winning comic book writer, filmmaker, journalist, and educator.

Walker is best known for his work in comic books, which includes Shaft: A Complicated Man (Dynamite Entertainment), winner of the 2015 Glyph Award for Story of the Year, and it’s sequel, Shaft: Imitation of Life. His work for Marvel Comics includes Luke Cage, Occupy Avengers, Power Man and Iron Fist, Nighthawk, Fury, and Deadpool. Walker has also worked for DC Comics (Cyborg), Boom (Planet of the Apes), and IDW/Monkeybrain (The Army of Dr. Moreau).

His upcoming creator-owned series, PrisonCity, will debut in late 2017/early 2018. He is also the creator of the prose YA series The Adventures of Darius Logan, and author of the novel Shaft’s Revenge, the first new novel starring the iconic black detective in more than forty years.

Walker is the co-founder and curator of the Portland Black Film Festival at the Hollywood Theatre.

He also teaches part time at Portland State University.

Marcelino Alvarez

Marcelino Alvarez

Founder & CEO of Uncorked Studios, formerly with Wieden+Kennedy
Marcelino Alvarez

Marcelino Alvarez

Founder & CEO of Uncorked Studios, formerly with Wieden+Kennedy

Marcelino J. Alvarez is the founder and CEO of Uncorked Studios, a product design firm located in Portland, Ore. The company is full of insatiably curious, multifaceted designers and engineers who are transforming ideas into tangible things every day—from websites to walls to wearables.

Outside of Uncorked, Marcelino cofounded Incúbate, the first design-thinking workshop and incubator in Cuba. The goal of the workshop is to provide local entrepreneurs with the tools they need to establish, grow, and build their companies.

Shawn Levy

Shawn Levy

Bestselling Author (Paul Newman: A Life, Rat Pack Confidential), Film Critic, Educator
Shawn Levy

Shawn Levy

Bestselling Author (Paul Newman: A Life, Rat Pack Confidential), Film Critic, Educator

Shawn Levy has written eight books, including the bestsellers “Rat Pack Confidential: Frank, Dean, Sammy, Peter, Joey and the Last Great Showbiz Party” and “Paul Newman:  A Life”, and the cultural histories “Ready, Steady, Go: The Smashing Rise and Giddy Fall of Swinging London” and “Dolce Vita Confidential: Fellini, Loren, Pucci, Paparazzi and the Swinging High Life of 1950’s Rome.”

He spent 30 years writing about movies for The Oregonian, KGW-TV, and American Film and Boxoffice magazines, as well as many other publications and outlets. He has written about film, pop culture, books and sports for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Guardian of London, the Independent of London, the San Francisco Chronicle, Movieline, Film Comment, Sight and Sound, Premiere, the Village Voice, and the Hollywood Reporter.

Other books by Levy include “De Niro: a Life”, “King of Comedy: The Life and Art of Jerry Lewis” and “The Last Playboy:  The High Life of Porfirio Rubirosa.”

He is currently at work on a history of Chateau Marmont, the famed Hollywood hotel.

A native of New York City, he was educated at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Irvine. He has three children and lives in southwest Portland. He is a board member of Operation Pitch Invasion, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to filling recreation deserts in and around Portland with new and restored soccer fields and futsal courts.



Plug into inspiration and motivation

When you experience a day of visionaries from a variety of creative disciplines taking you to the heart of their creative process–sharing their stories, challenges, influences and output–you will leave truly inspired and thinking about your world in a fresh new way.  It’s a vacation for your brain.

Plug into the creative industries network

This is a unique opportunity to expand your network across a variety of  creative industries professionals.  We will be in one place at one time for one reason: to explore and celebrate the creative process.  The schedule includes plenty of networking opportunities such as the attendee reception on Friday evening at the Wieden+Kennedy Atrium.

Plug into the experience

It’s not just about the great speakers.  You will be treated to music, food and drink throughout the day and into the evening at the Wrap Party, which takes place in the Wieden+Kennedy Atrium  (must have conference badge for entry).

Plug into the energy

Something special happened when the Armory was remodeled and became the Gerding Theater.  The space, and the surrounding Pearl District neighborhood, feels like it was tailor-made to harness and amplify creative energy.


This event would not be possible without the support of our sponsors.  Thank you!

Frequently Asked Questions
How much do tickets cost?

The Early Bird registration fee is $99, with discounts available for company teams who register together.  The regular registration fee will be $124.  As a non-profit, we try to make this event accessible and affordable to most creative industries professionals while still raising money for K-12 arts education programs in Oregon.

Will there be a discount available for companies who want to register a team of people for the event?

Yes, there is a 10% price break when registering 3 to 5 people at the same time for the event and 20% for registering 6 or more people at the same time.  Several companies have registered teams of people for the event.

How is the money used?

This event is a volunteer-driven, non-profit fundraiser for K-12 arts education programs in Oregon through Keeping the Arts, an Oregon-based 501(c)3 non-profit.  As long as we reach our sponsorship sales goal (thanks Sponsors!), the majority of registration fee proceeds will go to fund arts education programs to help foster the next generation of creative industries professionals.

Will lunch be served at the event?

This is dependent on if we are able to sell our lunch sponsorship.  We were able to do that in 2015 and 2016.



Gerding Theater at the Armory

128 NW 11th Avenue

Portland, OR 97209

Doors open at 8:00 AM for check-in & networking, Program starts at 9:00 AM



Use the form below, or send email to:


Sponsorship Opportunities:




If you have any questions about the event, please contact us using the form below.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)


Your Message

* Speakers subject to change without notice

back to top