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Caretakers Forum will ask the question: What is creative?


With events ranging from a photo competition to a guided tour of work spaces, the seven-day schedule for the inaugural Omaha Creative Week (September 5-11) is set. Kicking it off the evening of Monday, September 6, will be the Caretakers Forum, a panel discussion that will address the definition of creative, the purpose of creativity, the goals for Omaha to increase creative activity, and more. Without a doubt, this event will set the tone for the week and you won’t want to miss it.

We’ve partnered up with KANEKO to host the Caretakers Forum. From 6-7 p.m. KANEKO will be opening its doors, serving complimentary wine and light fare, and giving folks tours of their awesome space (this is where we host the annual Big Omaha).

The timing of things couldn’t have been any better as KANEKO’s newest installation will have opened just days before. Massive sculptures by the renowned and revered Fletcher Benton will fill the Bow Truss Room, the venue for the forum.

One of pieces of Benton’s Folded Square Alphabets and Numericals installation is pictured left. Photo from fletcherbenton.com/gallery.

The panel will begin promptly at 7 p.m. with a short introduction from myself (I’ll be serving as the night’s moderator) and then jumping right into the question: “Why Omaha Creative Week?”

Here are the evening’s panelists, with a short bio of each:

Joe Olsen, Phenomblue

Joe Olsen is the CEO, Director of Strategy & Innovation at Phenomblue, an industry leading interactive brand experience agency.

Phenomblue designs engaging digital interactive experiences for some of the world’s largest brands.



Susan Thomas, Omaha Creative Institute

Susan Thomas is the Executive Director of Omaha Creative Institute. Until 2003, Susan spent 25 years in New York, where she had worked in marketing on Wall Street and in advertising at Ogilvy & Mather Direct.

Omaha Creative Institute‘s mission is to be a cultural hub, providing leadership, unity, and educational opportunities for our creative community.


Brian Wetjen, Bozell

Brian Wetjen is the Partner in Charge of Interactive Creative at Bozell. Brian has over 12 years of experience in internet-related technologies and web development, of which he has an emphasis on efficient interfaces and optimal data collection and reporting systems.

Bozell is a full service integrated marketing and strategic consulting company.


Hal France, KANEKO*

Hal France became KANEKO’s first Executive Director in May 2008 bringing to this new endeavor 30 years of leadership experience as a conductor of opera and symphonic music.

KANEKO’s mission is to foster “open space for your mind” by providing public access to innovative thinkers and performers and by generating individual and collaborative ideas and projects.


*France, although not one of Omaha Creative Week’s 10 caretakers, will be joining the panel to contribute his insights and viewpoints.

The event is free and open to the public. Make sure to mark your calendar today or RSVP on Facebook to remind yourself (Monday is Labor Day). This will be a great way to kickoff one of the best weeks of the year on Omaha’s calendar.

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