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Connecting Iowa creatives

BY MADDIE CLOUGH | SEPTEMBER 04, 2014 5:00 AM

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Known as part of Iowa’s “Creative Corridor,” Iowa City’s imagination is expressed through everything from readings at Prairie Lights to concerts at Blue Moose Tap House and gallery shows at the University of Iowa.

But the new social-media website, ICCReatives.com — A fine collection of creative people in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids metropolis” —  adds a new venue for local creatives.

Andy Stoll, a 2003 UI graduate, former UISG president, and creator of ICCReatives, said the website is meant to serve as a common “meeting place” for a variety of creative individuals in and around Iowa City.

“Obviously, those in literature and writing have an absurd amount of opportunities and resources, but there are also lots of opportunities for musicians, designers, artists, painters, poets, and even knitters to show their work,” Stoll said. “ICCReatives.com was born out of the idea that we knew there were a lot of creative people in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids, but these people were hiding in basements, not connected and generally had a hard time finding each other out, so we wanted to create a website on which people could self-identify as a creative and connect with other like-minded people.”

Stoll said the creation of the ICCReative site was not a solo effort.

“Josh Cramer — who owns the Iowa City-based Full Stack, a software-development company — and I were talking about the need for a more visible and robust creative community in Iowa City and Cedar Rapids,” he said. “We decided to try an experiment and make a tool to help creative people find each other.”

The website uses a simple layout. Profile pictures of the users are randomly aligned throughout the home page. Scrolling over their pictures reveals their titles such as “communicator,” “adventurist,” and “photographer.” When viewing a profile, a short summary of the user’s goals and background is listed along with the person’s other social media accounts for Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

The current profiles on the site are not limited to painters, designers, and other art-based titles most would consider “creative.” Stoll said the definition of creativity is broader than one might think and is simply “the act of making things, whether that’s a piece of art, a culinary dish, or an idea.”

The people on ICCReatives include entrepreneurs, web designers, bloggers, photographers, event producers, educators, public speakers, and many other creative persons. Michael Caraway, a partner at Web Trep, a web design company in Cedar Falls, attended the event Startup Weekend in Cedar Rapids in which “a ridiculously awesome group of people” urged him to make a profile.

“In my opinion, the site is great for understanding who’s who in the community,” said Caraway, whose profile describes him as an entrepreneur and marketer. “It’s a great tool to look people up and understand whom you want to connect with.”

Allison Poss, another ICCReatives user who is listed as a blogger, educator, and entrepreneur, found out about the website through Stoll and an event called One Million Cups, in which business startups get the opportunity to pitch their businesses to other creative people — and enjoy free coffee.

“After I made my profile, the first thing I did was just look for people and follow them on Twitter if we had similar interests,” Poss said. “I’ve also found that sometimes just cold emailing someone saying, ‘Hey, I share a passion and an interest with you’ gets you a meeting over coffee.”


People can peruse creative profiles or make one of their own at ICCreatives.com


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