This is a guest blog post by Association For Creative Industries (AFCI) Member, Cindy deRosier, www.cindyderosier.com.
I attended Creativation in 2017 and 2018, and had visited Phoenix twice before that in the early 1990’s. I liked Phoenix just fine, but like many AFCI members, I was disappointed about the move from Anaheim. I filled out the post-Creativation survey both years, giving my honest opinion about Phoenix and the show in general. And then I didn’t give it another thought. Imagine my surprise when AFCI, in conjunction with the City of Phoenix, selected me as one of five AFCI members to visit Phoenix to learn more about the city! This speaks so highly of our organization; the AFCI staff hears our concerns and truly wants to help us have the best possible experience during the Creativation show in Phoenix.
For three days, the five of us were treated to all the best that Phoenix has to offer. And let me assure you, there is a LOT that Phoenix has to offer! Fabulous, affordable food? Yes! World-class museums and entertainment options? Absolutely! A family-friendly and safe city center that is pedestrian-friendly and offers convenient public transportation? Definitely! A city that values public art and supports working artists? Yep! Friendly people who are proud of their community and everything it has to offer? No doubt!
Did you know that Phoenix has an ambassador program specifically to help visitors? Look for a friendly face in an orange shirt and khaki pants. They’re all over the downtown area. Want someone to walk you to your hotel, or help you lug that bag of make-and-takes to your car? Need a restaurant recommendation, or directions to a museum? Maybe you simply need a band-aid. Ask an ambassador! It’s that easy.
I’d like to share some of my personal favorites from the trip. It’s difficult, because I truly enjoyed every restaurant, every store, and every attraction we visited! I’ll start with food because, next to crafting, it is my favorite thing. We had delicious pizza just a block from the Convention Center at La Piazza Pizza. Wood-fired, crispy crust with just the right amount of chew, gooey cheese, and a wide selection of toppings made me very happy. So did the unique cocktail I tried!
If you’re willing to go a little farther, try Matt’s Big Breakfast (the pancakes are to die for), The Vig (save room for the incredible butterscotch cake with whiskey maple glaze), and the Phoenix Public Market Cafe (homemade bagels, pastries, and pop tarts that will blow your mind).
During our visit, we met with numerous creative business owners. I loved touring Porter Barn Wood and seeing the amazing things they make with reclaimed wood. Hazel & Violet Letterpress was so much fun! I’d love to take a class there.
And how fun to visit Mucho Más, owned by our very own Crafty Chica! Kathy Cano-Murillo has an adorable shop specializing in Latino art. It’s part of a larger space shared with other creative entrepreneurs with such interesting stories. I loved the bilingual bookstore with photos of their prominent authors hanging above the shelves.
As for attractions, I loved the Desert Botanical Garden. It’s absolutely beautiful and I was so inspired by the colors and textures I saw. Don’t be surprised to see a desert influence in my future artwork!
The Heard Museum, which features Native art, was incredible. It’s only four light rail stops away from the convention center. (Ask an ambassador for help buying your $2 ticket if you’re not a public transportation whiz!)
I also loved all the public art within walking distance of the convention center. The area is full of gorgeous murals, sculptures, and statues that are uniquely Phoenix.
The best part about the visit to Phoenix was meeting my fellow AFCI members, Brooke, Alison, Cheryl, and Anita. None of us knew each other ahead of time, we are from different geographic locations, and we represent different member sections, but none of that mattered. As often happens with creative people, we clicked immediately and enjoyed finding out what we had in common and sharing with each other the things that make us and our businesses unique.
I’m always excited to go to Creativation, but if it’s possible to be even more excited than before, I am!
Register for Creativation
Join thousands of creative businesses for Creativation January 17-21, 2019 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. Education will start on January 17; the trade show will open January 19-21. Register for your badge today at www.CreativationShow.org. Conference registration will open on September 12.
Thinking about extending your stay to explore Phoenix? We’ve partnered with the City of Phoenix to provide you with resources to help you plan your trip. Click here to explore trip ideas, see things to do nearby the Phoenix Convention Center, and find free virtual travel guides.
Need a hotel? We’ve made it easy for you to book hotels near the event in Phoenix through our new hotel booking partner, Hotels for Hope. Hotels for Hope’s 600,000+ hotel partners allows us to expand the number of hotels at great rates available for Creativation, which gives your company more choices of where to stay! Plus, for every Creativation hotel room night booked through Hotels for Hope, $2 will be donated to the Kids In Need Foundation, AFCI’s Charity of Choice. Book your hotel now!