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Creative Control Founders Discuss Success in Festival’s Fourth Year

Jenna Taylor Jenna Taylor Creative Control Founders Discuss Success in Festival’s Fourth YearPhoto by LaJuana Taylor.
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This past weekend concluded the fourth annual Creative Control Fest at the historic Lincoln Theatre where artists gathered to collaborate and discuss ideas to effectively approach the job market and creative processes to enrich their skills.

Speakers for this year’s festival included bestselling memoirist Piper Kerman, independent producer and musician Blueprint, creator of Six Word Memoirs Larry Smith, advertising specialist Adrian Franks, celebrated director of the Lawrence and Isabel Barnett Center for Integrated Arts and Enterprise Sanjon BasShiva Manjon, marketing guru Chris Cochran, artist and entrepreneur Allison Chapman, owner of Mosaic Education Network Dr. Melissa Crum, and social media strategist Melissa Kimble.

Just four years ago, founders Corey Favor and Marshall Shorts set out to fill a void in what they saw as an underrepresented market.

“We wanted to create a platform that fostered a collective voice for people of color as influencers, leaders, and experts in creative industries,” said Shorts. “We noticed and were inspired by a lot of the culture and things created but noted a lack of representation of people.”


The Alpha Phi Alpha brothers started the festival without a traditional business plan — instead opting to get to work immediately, collaborating, organizing, and thoroughly researching what needed to be done to put the festival together.

“We had a vision,” said Shorts. “And from that vision, we began ‘Shut Up and Create’, the Creative Control Festival.”

The two-day conference not only hosted seminars and workshops throughout Saturday, but also included more innovative events such as an ending awards concert and the “Hustle Ink Battle” where local and national artists competed on canvas with limited tools and a surprise theme.

“Marshall and I have been very adamant about being strategic and organized,” explained Favor. “It hasn’t always been easy but we have a great core team to help us with the business of the Fest.”

Despite the extensive background the duo have working directly in their creative fields — Favor is a Sr. Graphic Designer within OSU’s Communication Department and Shorts is a Creative Director and Partner of Soulo Theory Creative — the festival has proven to not only be a process of learning, but also one of growth for these entrepreneurs and artists.

“There is a vital importance of focusing on the experience of your stakeholders, be it volunteers, attendees, team members, and partners,” Shorts explained. “It is also the key ingredient in future marketing and relationship building.”

“The Creative Control Fest has the capability to be one of the top creative conferences in the country,” said Favor. “Columbus is a great location geographically, and we want to be able to draw from the surrounding cities and creative communities making it a prime destination for creative networking, education, and professional opportunities.”

“The Creative Control Fest’s canvas is a mural that can go on as long as we continue to do it,” concluded Shorts.

For more information, visit www.creativecontrolfest.com.

Photos by LaJuana Taylor.

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