Let us rock your world for 36 hours.

The Ignite Creativity Summit is designed to empower creative people of all persuasions by inspiring them to think bigger, make connections and become familiar with the resources available to them, both locally and nationally.

Ignite is not a professional conference. It is a blow-your-mind learning experience.

Through Ignite, VAE is rethinking and retooling professional education for creative makers. Online search engines have changed the way people learn. With information just seconds away, the job of educating artists is no longer about providing data, but about teaching artists how to apply data to build stronger careers and communities. Ignite offers a new interactive learning structure to fit the times, providing creative entrepreneurs with learning experiences that can’t be googled.


Since its founding in 1980, Visual Art Exchange (VAE) has produced exhibitions and educational programming for emerging visual artists. The core of our educational opportunities has the popular ‘Business of Being An Artist’ (BOBAA) lecture series, which expanded over the years from evening talks to well-attended all-day mini conferences.  In 2014, VAE’s educational program experienced a growth spurt thanks to a significant financial sponsorship from PNC Bank, becoming larger and more inclusive to better meet the needs and diversity of North Carolina’s creative community.


Granted, we’re sort of the nerdy cousin, but still….
SPARKcon is an interdisciplinary creativity, art & design festival produced by Visual Art Exchange.  SPARKcon 2015 will be the 10th annual event and is scheduled for September in downtown Raleigh.

SPARKcon’s “creative potluck” of SPARKs (or creative themes) such as art, music, film, fashion, geek, circus, etc.  is put together by passionate individuals who volunteer their expertise and are deeply embedded in a specific local scene. Using a combination of networking and open calls for participants, organizers create diverse and representative events to show off local talent and connect disparate creative scenes.

One of the things that we, the VAE staff, are excited and inspired by is the common ground that SPARKcon reveals between the creative disciplines. Not only do the different “sparks” share a lot of the same challenges and obstacles as creative professionals, but they also share a need for a larger, inclusive community–one that breaks down the traditional (but arbitrary) borders between disciplines.