FORT COLLINS — Andrew Schneider’s work environment is a bit playful with an art gallery, a cafe, a stage and a virtual reality room — and it represents how he likes to merge art, science and technology. Schneider of Fort Collins is the managing director of the Downtown Artery, a role he has held since the end of March, and he is lead organizer of Startup Week and the founder of several creative enterprises. Leading the Downtown Artery, a 14,000-square-foot space for creatives, entrepreneurs and the public, is a way he can bring his love of different communities into one colorful, artsy setting. “All the work we’ve done to create an alliance between the creative community and the entrepreneurial community, that just continues to grow,” said Schneider, who has been involved with the artery in various capacities since its founding four years ago. “The reason I wanted to be here is to take the logical next step in that work … helping the Artery take the next step in a purpose-driven space to help realize its mission on a bigger scale and to build more bridges between Northern Colorado creatives and entrepreneurs.” Schneider leads a team of a dozen staff members, who work with visual artists, musicians and other artists to build better outcomes for creatives and entrepreneurs in what he explains is a vertically integrated arts ecosystem, or the traditional supply chain of research, development and production applied to creatives. The Artery helps foster strategic partnerships to support the artistic community and provides spaces for artists to make, exhibit and perform their art, he said. “Every day I get to wake up and work with creatives who are on the frontlines of innovating the world and that’s an incredible honor,” Schneider said. The mission of the Artery is advancing artist outcomes and artist equity, Schneider said, adding that he can add to that mission by bringing in his nonprofit CreatePlaces, where he’s served as board president since 2014. CreatePlaces is an economic and workforce development nonprofit that provides support to artists through networking, incubation and acceleration activities with the aim to increase arts-related employment in Northern Colorado. “We engage in creative placemaking to put our creatives to work and build a healthier community,” Schneider said. CreatePlaces gains a facility and a team, while the Artery, which is for-profit, adds a creative place-making infrastructure, resulting in a merging of missions, Schneider said. “They’re sort of symbiotic business models with a common mission,” Schneider said. Schneider’s own employment history follows that same symbiotic relationship between the arts and technology. At age 33, Schneider has a long resume, but his creative, playful and tech-driven nature started with elementary school and an Apple computer lab. Born in Casper, Wyo., a place he escapes to for unplugging, he moved to Fort Collins in elementary school, attending a school that installed one of the first Apple labs in the nation. He learned how to use computers and about websites and list services before the explosion […]
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