News from the Creative Enterprise Zone
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You're invited! 

Give & Take: Picturing the Creative Enterprise Zone

Friday, January 24
2400 University Avenue W
The old Gremlin Theater
7-8:30pm (doors at 6:30)

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Please join us for a social evening of inspiration and connection. We have lined up an exciting roster of presenters for Give & Take: Picturing the CEZ. From photographer Steve Wewerka sharing how to make stunning photos with your phone, to an accomplished group of local filmmakers exploring new levels of collaboration, there’s something for every creative or entrepreneurial.
Give & Take events in the Creative Enterprise Zone have come to define, in many ways, the essence of this unique area. By bringing people together to learn from and be inspired by one another, Give & Takes seek to lay the groundwork for a more collaborative and prosperous community where people succeed in making a living by their creative capacities.
This Give & Take will showcase the Creative Enterprise Zone. Located mid-city between Saint Paul and Minneapolis, and traditionally home to makers of all kinds, the Creative Enterprise Zone has the goal to be a recognized center of creativity and enterprise, a place where more people make a living by their creative capacities. As all of the presenters will demonstrate, the community that’s in the neighborhood now is dynamic, intriguing and surprising.
Whether you are a professional creative or a casual hobbyist, come join your community for cocktails, refreshments and inspiration.


Learn more about the featured presenters:

Photographer Steve Wewerka on Mobile Phone Photography

Steve Wewerka, of Wewerka Photo, has been pointing his camera at nearly anything in sight since he was young. His shots have appeared in publications such as Sports Illustrated, LIFE and Time magazine, among many others. With 20 years of experience doing commercial and promotional communications for businesses, both large and small, he has more recently turned back to fine art photography. He has won awards at multiple arts festivals and shows around the Twin Cities. 

He is also passionate about helping small businesses and nonprofit organizations tell their stories and promote their causes by taking advantage of an unlimited online media platform. With the thousands of dollars one can spend on photography equipment, the best camera you ever have, he says, is the one in your hand. For most people, that means a cell phone. This is the focus of his popular seminar, aptly named, "Iphoneography." For small businesses and nonprofits doing their own communications on a tight budget, the camera in your phone can be an invaluable tool if you know how to use it.

Check out the CEZ Artist Profile, "Behind the Lens with Steve Wewerka"

Matt Ehling, John Whitehead, Brenda Piekarski and others on collaborative filmmaking

The folks at 2375 University Ave are bringing collaborative filmmaking to new heights. With 12 people sharing office space, including videographers, writers, sound technicians and more, the opportunities to share resources, expertise and equipment are endless. Maintaining a certain degree of autonomy in their work and creative vision is also important, though. Several members of this group will present on their filmmaking experiences in a highly collaborative environment.

Matt Ehling is founder and president of Public Record Media—a St. Paul-based organization that produces independent-minded, non-partisan public affairs writing and programming with particular focus on vigorous pursuit of government documents and open records requests.  With decades of experience in the communications field, he is also an accomplished documentary filmmaker. His original television and radio programs often deal with issues of national security, civil liberties and other legal issues. His vast body of work includes “Urban Warrior” and “Intent: Searching For Meaning In the Constitution.” His pieces have appeared on PBS, the Bravo Channel, Independent Film Channel and at film festivals all over the world.

John Whitehead, of his own Fretless Films production company, is a prolific independent filmmaker whose vast body of awarded work focuses on themes from folk music and art, to environmentalism and Minnesota history. He wrote, co-produced, directed and edited the acclaimed five-part documentary series “Minnesota: A History of the Land.” Some of his more recent works include the Emmy-Award winning documentary “First Speakers: Restoring the Ojibwe Language”, which looks at the looming extinction of Minnesota’s Ojibwe language and the scholars and educators racing to preserve it. His work has earned seven regional Emmy Awards, an HBO Films Producer Award, a Corporation for Public Broadcasting Award, and many others.

Brenda Piekarski is an avid outdoors enthusiast and seasoned video producer. She is founder and president of Pixelle8 Media—a video production company that offers a full range of video services to corporations and small businesses. In addition to producing dazzling promotional videos and running Pixelle8 Media, she also focuses on another recent creative endeavor: Among the Wild—an artistic, independent adventure film series based in the great Minnesota outdoors. This project is presented by MN Adventure Films, which Piekarski also founded.

Mai C. Vang on founding Chaos Art Gallery & Studio 

Mai C. Vang, of Chaos Art Gallery and Studio, is a local visual artist who first teamed up with other artists and businesses to join the thriving arts community of the Dow Building, 2242 University Ave W, in the Creative Enterprise Zone in 2012.  In doing so, she launched an innovative re-imagination of what a creative space can be and offer. Almost two years later, Chaos expanded to the beautiful storefront space on 856 Raymond Avenue, St. Paul, MN.

“We want the Chaos Art Gallery experience to evolve into something better for both the artist and the clients. Expect only high quality local artists as well as thought-provoking yet tantalizingly accessible and unpretentious exhibitions,” says Vang.

Independent Filmmaker Project MN on resources for film and media artists in the CEZ and beyond

Independent Filmmaker Project ( is a non-profit media arts center serving a diverse community of emerging and independent film, photography, video and sound artists. Their mission is to advance a vibrant and diverse community of independent film and media artists through networking, education, funding, and opportunities for showcasing their work. IFP MN envisions a world where expression through images is encouraged and valued. It is their goal to lead the way in supporting the independent filmmaker by creating a healthy and viable filmmaking community in Minnesota.
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