George Worthington, Theresa Quintanilla and Durwin Sharp, the founders of Creative Houston, are all creative professionals who love living in Houston. We are always coming up with new ideas and trying to make them happen. We think that Houston is one of the best places in the world to be a creative professional, which is someone whose livelihood depends on their creativity.
In the 2000's, George was watching with frustration as cities like San Francisco, New York City, Los Angeles, and even (groan) Austin grabbed all the glory for being creative and supporting innovation. He felt (and Durwin and Theresa agreed) that Houstonians don't collaborate enough to get great ideas off the ground. Houston was seen as a place that could exploit resources but not develop new ideas.
So we all got together and staged a conference called the Houston Summit for the Creative Economy in 2010. Our goal was to demonstrate and motivate more collaboration in Houston. It was a bust. (Theresa has a theory that Houston is such an affordable and open city, we support the dark flip side of "do it yourself" which is "I'll do it myself.") The wildcatter mentality continues to drive mostly solo entrepreneurs in Houston.
What does Houston want from us?
In 2008, in a blog post called Cities and Ambition, Paul Graham made the following observations:
New York tells you, above all: you should make more money.... What I like about Boston (or rather Cambridge) is that the message there is: you should be smarter... in Silicon Valley, the message the Valley sends is: you should be more powerful.
In Houston, everyone thinks you should have a project. You should be working on an idea. It may be a painting that only your family will see, or it may be a huge real estate development that will change the city's landscape, but you better have an answer when a fellow Houstonian says "so what are your working on?" You'll know you're a Houstonian if you think "What are you working on?" is a better question than "what do you do?" or "who are you with?" Some great answers include
- I'm designing a new medical device
- I'm writing a novel
- I'm starting a restaurant
- I'm making a baby....
because whatever you're working on, we guarantee that Houstonians will be impressed and supportive. We Houstonians love it when people apply their energy to creating something new. It makes us proud.
At Creative Houston, our project is to help the world see how Houston supports creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, and creative professionals.