This Month: The Creative Economy & the DC Cultural Plan

John Howkins coined the term “creative economy” to identify the intersection of arts and humanities entrepreneurship, government policy, and private foundation support. The creative economy defines how a community sees itself. The DC Council’s recent foray into shaping the local creative economy – the DC Cultural Plan – may shape the District’s identity for years to come. (See:



Uwe S. Brandes

Brandes has over 20 years of experience in the planning, design and construction of new buildings, public infrastructure and the urban landscape. He is faculty director of the graduate program in Urban and Regional Planning at Georgetown University and principal of Brandes Partners LLP, a strategy practice. From 2007 to 2013 he served as Senior Vice President of the Urban Land Institute where he oversaw global research on sustainable urban development including creation of ULI’s climate change program. Prior to ULI, he was managing director of the multi-agency Anacostia Waterfront Initiative in the District of Columbia. Over $3 billion of public and private investment was catalyzed during his eight-year tenure. Brandes is engaged in advisory activities internationally to public, private and non-profit organizations. He is a Fulbright Scholar, has an A.B. in engineering science from Dartmouth College and Master of Architecture from Harvard University.

Sakina Khan

Khan is the Deputy Director for Citywide Strategy and Analysis at the DC Office of Planning. She oversees the State Data Center, Geographic Information Systems as well as systems planning related to housing, transportation, sustainability, economic development and capital facilities. She is currently managing the District’s first ever comprehensive Cultural Plan, which will lay out recommendations on how the government and its partners can invest in the people, places, communities and ideas that define culture within the nation’s capital. She is also leading the Crossing the Street creative placemaking initiative, working with curators on creating inclusive experiences in neighborhoods undergoing change. Ms. Khan was previously OP’s Senior Economic Planner, specializing in economic development analysis with a focus on emerging sectors and neighborhoods. In this role, she led numerous strategic planning, policy and implementation efforts, including the Creative DC Action Agenda and the DC Vibrant Retail Toolkit. Ms. Khan has more than fifteen years of planning experience in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining the Office of Planning, she was a senior associate at a consulting firm, specializing in socioeconomic impact assessment of large-scale infrastructure projects in economically disadvantaged locations. Ms. Khan is a graduate of MIT, where she earned her master’s degree in city planning.

George Koch

Koch currently serves as Chair Emeritus for Artomatic, Inc. In 1999, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2015. Artomatic energized Washington artists and performers and demonstrated the city’s creative energy, captured media attention, and drew residents from the tristate area. He is currently the President and CEO of the Center for the Creative Economy in the District of Columbia. Mr. Koch is a painter and founder of A. Salon, Ltd., an artist’s service organization in the District of Columbia. Mr. Koch is a founding member of the Cultural Development Corporation, the Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington and the Fringe Festival. Mr. Koch served as a member of the District of Columbia Arts and Humanities for five terms and served as commissioner convener for the Visual Art, Design, Media panels. He was the convener for the Annual Mayor’s Arts Awards Panel for 4 years. Mr. Koch chaired the Arts and Culture Committee of the Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO, for ten years. The Committee sponsored ARTS DC a CETA Arts Project in partnership with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and championed the creation of the D.C. Film Office. Mr. Koch served five terms as an officer of National Artists Equity Association and Artists Equity Fund.

Ronald Dixon

Dixon is the Founder/CEO + Creative of ideaPlexDC™, a combination and enhancement of several of his prior ventures: Dixon Group, Inc. and Studio202. He is a 3rd generation, native Washingtonian, and is passionate about transforming the District of Columbia into an exciting, new destination for digital media, animation, technology, education, production, music and entrepreneurship.

ideaPlexDC™, the brainchild of Mr. Dixon, will be the nation’s only all-in-one campus where innovators in the creative space come to create, collaborate, produce, market and commercialize their ideas – generating major economic, social and cultural benefits for DC in the process. Mr. Dixon has developed business entities within the ideaPlexDC™ concept that provide the resources and training that enable the District’s undiscovered creatives to realize their creative potential and commercialize their art. By providing the District’s creative class with access to facilities, training and resources of this sort, ideaPlexDC™ will usher in a new era where District residents and visitors in the creative economy are well-equipped to actualize careers throughout this rapidly-growing field.

Mr. Dixon is leading the charge to provide inner-city youth interested in creative, S.T.E.A.M.-related careers with an opportunity to learn (and master) new skills, and then utilize those skills as they explore careers in the creative economy. Because of this, a central component of ideaPlexDC™ is its innovative afterschool program, the All Roads Academy, which is designed to provide students with an opportunity to learn in a world-class environment, exploring and qualifying themselves for careers across the spectrum of disciplines within the creative economy.

Pamela S. Perkins, M.A.

Perkins, specializing in Behavioral and Professional Communication Services, is the Founder, CCO of the Human Communication Institute, LLC and currently an Adjunct Professor of Communication at the University of the District of Columbia. An alumna of UNC-Chapel Hill, New York University, P.S. is the author of the highly acclaimed business self-help book, The Art and Science of Communication: Tools for Effective Communication in the Workplace, by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., as well as a contributing author to the books Laws of Communication, Wiley Publishers. She writes articles on Human Communication for a variety of publications. As a Motivational Speaker and Training Specialist P.S. offers presentations and workshops on the variety of Human Communication topics. She is the moderator of the panel.

What is a Humanitini?

A Humanitini is an exciting happy hour event where Washington’s movers, shakers, and creators come together to think and drink. It is a place for you to engage with your peers, meet your neighbors, and speak with experts about what makes the District a unique place to live and play.

What is your DC?

DC has always been a city of change, forward-thinking even as we struggle with and celebrate the complexities of our past. Now, the District is evolving faster than ever before, and we want to capture the excitement of our vibrant communities where culture is created every day. Join us for the 2017 Humanitini series as we explore our city and ask the question: “What is your DC?”