Lexington to host Creative Cities Summit in April

Saying 2010 will be "Lexington's year to shine," Mayor Jim Newberry and Gov. Steve Beshear announced Friday that the city would host the Creative Cities Summit five months before the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games.

The April 7-9 conference will be an opportunity to showcase Lexington as an innovative city and to learn strategies for improving the city's economy and quality of life, the mayor said.

It will feature several prominent speakers and is expected to attract about 600 attendees, about two-thirds of whom will come from the region.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Lexington," Beshear said at a news conference. "This summit will have an impact not just on Lexington but on the entire commonwealth."

Speakers include Creative Class author Richard Florida; "Next Generation" consultant Rebecca Ryan, who has been working with Commerce Lexington; Ben Self, a Lexington native and resident who is a co-founder of Blue State Digital, which created President Barack Obama's online campaign strategy; Charles Landry, author of The Art of City Making; and Bill Strickland, a MacArthur Foundation "genius" grant recipient from Pittsburgh and author of Making the Impossible Possible.

Previous Creative Cities Summits have been in St. Petersburg, Fla., in 2004 and Detroit in 2008, said founder Peter Kageyama. Downtown developer Phil Holoubek is leading the Lexington organizing effort.

Sessions will focus on such issues as economic development, developing young professionals, nurturing technology entrepreneurs, the black creative class and developing social innovation.

"This gives Lexington an opportunity to expand our brand," Holoubek said.

He said organizers have raised more than $200,000 in cash and in-kind donations so far to put on the conference, with the biggest gift coming from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The conference is open to the public. For information, see