Kim Chestney

As Director of Creative Industries Acceleration at the Pittsburgh Technology Council, Kim Chestney works with some of the coolest creatives around town. At the helm of the their Art + Technology Initiative for nearly a decade, she works with Carnegie Mellon to create opportunities for artists and entrepreneurs to flourish in the region. This week, Kim takes a break from planning the upcoming CREATE Festival to share some of her Pittsburgh adventures.

Monday, March 9

Wake up hoping that, somehow magically, daylight savings time has broken the litany of this winter’s weekly blizzards. It’s a big week: CREATE Festival programming week. I get to check out tons of super cool proposals—from artists, entrepreneurs … you name it, from here and far away—about ways to shout out the power of creativity to the world.

One working lunch and a hundred proposals later, I’ll swing by Marty’s Market for coffee with Eben, who is doing some very smart things at SimCoach Games (aka Etcetera Entertainment). We are sure to cook up something fun. Though most likely, more than metaphorically, since I can never get out of Marty’s without scoring some tasty treats. Then, it’s back to holing up with the art submissions, literally, for the rest of the day.

Tuesday, March 10

It seems like each day I meet someone new who is doing something creative and amazing in this town. Today, I get to meet with Dan at ZeGo Robotics at TechShop. But first, I’ll head over to Garfield to powwow with our friends at The Sprout Fund. Today, Dustin and I are putting our heads together on EdTech programming at the CREATE Festival.

Then off to TechShop. Always cool things in the works there. Say “hi” to Les. Won’t say “hi” to Gordon Kirkwood, who has temporarily swapped us out for an Autodesk Artist-In-Residency at Pier 9 in San Francisco. Got to see all that magic firsthand last week while doing some west coast Creative Cities benchmarking with Jim Denova. Great to see artists being treated like royalty. Also great to see TechShop launching its own very cool Maker Residency program.

Got to head out of East Liberty by 5 p.m.; it’s Girls on the Run day. Both of my girls have loved this program, which has such an empowering and inspirational curriculum for Pittsburgh girls. Highly recommend.

Wednesday, March 11

Today is an early morning start in Lawrenceville. Coffee at Espresso a Mano while meeting with Kilolo and Ryan from 412 MADE, kindred spirits in creative industries acceleration.

Then, over to East Liberty for lunch. My first time at Grit and Grace, with Audrey (PTC CEO) and our friends from Mullen, John and Brian B. Love them. Enough said.

Head back to the office and keep digging through the festival submissions until its time for … date night! Jon (fiancé) and I usually meet up at his apartment at the Pennsylvanian (best city view in town), then it’s a hop, skip and a jump to the Cultural District. If we get there before 6, we have time to check out Unloaded at SPACE gallery. Then food: maybe tonight it is “the-bestest-turkey-burgers-in-town” at Tonic; or Moscow Mules at Ten Penny. Decisions, decisions.

Thursday, March 12

Today is Creative Clash day. We invented this event series two years ago with our friends at Carnegie Museum of Art; keeping with tradition, at 5 p.m., we mix ‘n mingle with art and techies to the backdrop of Antoine Catala’s Distant Feel. This is the same exhibit that kicked off on Valentine’s weekend by turning the Gulf Tower into a mood ring. Which feels extra special to me since that happy weather beacon has always been the centerpiece of our apartment view.

But first, like a good redhead, I am going to fuel up on my favorite Scottish fare at Piper’s Pub. Two words: scotch eggs. I have the pleasure of lunching with Evie, the lovely ED of the ADFED, who will surely find new ways for me to prove myself a worthy board member.

Friday, March 13

The luckiest day of the year and my best friend’s birthday. Today is going to be fun. The festivities start with our festival lunch at Habitat. This year, Joe (Dollar Bank), Veronica (TRAF) and I cooked up this art and tech mashup between the CREATE Festival and Three Rivers Arts Festival. Going to be historic.

At 6 p.m., I meet up with Lauren, whom you know from the awesomeness of VIA. We are scouting the Wyndham Hotel for viable locations for a ginormous pop-up art installation at the festival.

Last, but certainly not least, it’s quitting time—and Jon and I are off to the South Side Lofts, and Dee’s to meet up with the Denovas and our favorite crew of troublemakers. Couldn’t think of a better way to end the week.

Saturday, March 14

The weekends are my sanctuary. With such busy weeks, I just retreat to our house in the woods of West Mo Co. Maybe finish my portrait of Audrey Hepburn. Maybe catch up on some shopping at Ali’s Marketplace—great stock of dairy-free, gluten-free and all food healthy. Maybe happy hour at Burgatory. Probably cap off the night by checking in on our custom wedding bands from Etsy, or finding some new art on Easely.

Sunday, March 15

We are trying out something new this weekend. Tech-free Sundays. With Jon and I both working in tech and the kids naturally consumed by it, we thought a weekly unplug might be good for the soul. So today will probably consist of: at least one meal around the table; reading of an ACTUAL book; a good, old-fashioned family game or two; and, if nothing else, some face-to-face, quality time with the ones we love.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.