Get Creative at CREATIVATION

2/28/24

The craft and fine arts industries will join forces once again and be celebrated at this year’s Creativation by Namta. The show is set to take place March 23 to 27 in New Orleans, LA.

This year’s show is set to be one of the largest in recent years. The show floor is nearly booked, with 175 exhibitors registered as of late January; this is the largest number of exhibitors since 2007, according to Rick Munisteri, director of meetings at Namta. Munisteri also anticipates more attendees than last year’s 1,800 count – which was also a record high.

“I think there’s been good growth since the merger of the fine arts and creative arts industries three years ago,” Munisteri said. “I’m excited to see this growth continue in the coming years.”

“This year’s Creativation by Namta is shaping up to be the best show in decades,” said Leah Siffringer, executive director of Namta. “The show floor is a few booths away from completely sold out and our education sessions have not only doubled in number, but are the richest offerings we have put forward to date. As we approach our third show since the 2021 merger of AFCI and NAMTA, it is truly inspiring to see what used to be two communities come together as one representing the best of the creative industry.”

 

Learn something new

Creativation kicks off with two days of educational sessions, with 52 sessions to choose from. The classes and demonstrations cover crafting methods, fine art trends and business advice. Below are just a few of the workshops available. For a full list of classes and schedules, visit namta.org.

 

Saturday, March 23

Rich Kizer and Georganne Bender will lead a New Orleans Retail Store Tour. This excursion will visit the French Quarter along with some unexpected places. By the end of the trip, participants will learn the inside secrets of visual merchandising and can translate what they see into displays for their own stores. There is no cost to attend, but space is limited.

How to Sell 8x More Items in Your Store, hosted by Jaimie Echt, will address how retailers can use multiple products together to increase sales. The group will experiment with color and different surfaces. There is an option to take a sample-making kit with various products back to your store. Cost is $85 for the hands-on sample-making class kit, $25 for the lecture only.

Learn about a unique art form and its potential at Sublimation Unleashed: How to Integrate Sublimation & Increase Profits at Your Store! Makerflo’s John Modi and entrepreneur Marc Pendergraft will discuss practical strategies for introducing sublimation affordably and how to create a captivating experience. There is no cost to attend.

 

Sunday, March 24

At the Watermedia Workshop, presented by Holbein and led by Matt Hopper and Keith Eccles, participants will gain hands-on experience with select colors and mediums from Holbein’s various water-soluble color lines. Featured products in this beginner’s workshop include Holbein Artists’ Watercolor, watercolor mediums, Artists’ Gouache and Acrylic Gouache. There is no cost to attend.

Those who attend Hahnemuhle USA: Paper Makes a Difference will learn more about popular watercolor paper brands. Joe Domeier, who has worked in the art materials industry for 38 years, will cover the importance of quality paper, how sizing and weight come into play and the benefits and differences between the various types of paper fibers. There is no cost to attend.

Diamond Dotz Freestyle lets participants get an up-close look at the world’s premier diamond painting company. Learn to diamond paint your own way. There is no cost to attend.

 

See up-and-coming products

Since premiering at the 2022 Creativation in Orlando, Demo Alley has undergone slight modifications to bring the best experience possible for manufacturers and retailers. “We’ve continued to build on it based on things we’ve heard from our members after the show last year,” Munisteri said.

Demo Alley will host different themes for each of the trade show’s three days. Monday’s “Let’s Get Messy” focus will center on demo products. On Tuesday, attendees can learn about innovations during “Try Something New.” Technology and sustainability will round out the offerings in “Improve Efficiency.” Demo Alley will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday.

Changes are also in store for the product showcase. In past shows, Creativation has hosted an open showcase where people can interact with new products. This year, organizers are creating more order, displaying new items in acrylic, transparent showcases.

 

Catch up with old friends, make new connections

There will be plethora of networking opportunities in New Orleans, featuring new events alongside old favorites.

During the Welcome Reception on Sunday night at the New Orleans Marriott hotel, guests can enjoy complimentary drinks and light hors d’oeuvres. Namta will give presentations, including the Hall of Fame, Lifetime Achievement Awards and information about the location of Creativation by Namta 2025. Other returning staples include the Creativation Kick-Off on Monday morning at the convention center, the President’s Reception Monday evening at Mardi Gras World and Next Generation Happy Hour on Tuesday featuring an axe throwing outing.

For those who have aged out of the Next Generation Happy Hour, Namta will be hosting an Old Timer’s Whiskey Tasting on Tuesday night. The class, held at Sazerac House right across the street from the Marriott, will introduce guests to the art of nosing, tasting, and evaluating spirits.

On Saturday night, Namta is hosting a brand-new event: Mardi Gras Social – Meet the Creative Professionals. The gathering offers a more intimate, friendly opportunity for attendees and exhibitors to build connections. “It’s a chance for creative professionals to learn more about the participating exhibitors’ products and for the exhibitors to learn more about the creative professionals and how to help them,” Munisteri explained.

A follow-up event, a Meet and Greet: Coffee with the Creative Professionals, is scheduled for Tuesday morning in Demo Alley. It will allow Creativation professionals and exhibitors to meet the Creative Professional Members of Namta and learn how they can help their businesses.

“I hope people experience our tagline – building creative partnerships – and build those partnerships with each other,” Munisteri stated. “As we continue to grow, we see the joining of the craft and fine arts industries as the future.”

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