VISUAL EFFECTS ARTIST & ACADEMY AWARD WINNER
Peter Kuran began his career at the age of 19 working as an effects animator on the original “Star Wars” in 1977. After completing work as animation supervisor for Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) on George Lucas’ “The Empire Strikes Back”, Peter Kuran created VCE (Visual Concept Entertainment), developing it as a leader of visual imaging in motion picture production, licensing, visual effects and image restoration.
Peter has worked on visual effects for over 300 theatrical motion pictures both “Addams Family” films, and all three original “Robocop” features. VCE Films work has been seen in “Men In Black,” “The 6th Day,” “Thirteen Days,” “A Beautiful Mind,” “X-Men 2” and “The Last Samurai.” VCE Films most recent work includes “The Founder,” and “Jack Reacher: Never Go Back.”
DESIGN LEGEND @ NIKE
Wilson W. Smith III is a Senior Designer and Nike DNA Design Specialist. During his 33-year tenure at Nike, Smith has worked on projects that run the gamut of the design profession—retail, graphics, architecture, footwear, experience and apparel—and designed and developed product for some of the greatest athletes in Nike’s history, including Michael Jordan, Serena Williams, Andre’ Agassi and Roger Federer.
What truly defines Wilson is his incredible passion around coaching, teaching and giving back. Wilson’s commitment to the next generation of designers and the power of design to positively impact the world has created a presence and legacy that expands beyond his designs at Nike.
PORTLANDIA, GRIMM & LEVERAGE ACTOR
Katie O’Grady is one of the Northwest’s most sought after local talents. Katie has entertained audiences through seven seasons on PORTLANDIA (IFC), and guest spots on network series like LEVERAGE (TNT), and GRIMM (NBC). O’Grady earned a place on the Hollywood Reporter’s prestigious OSCAR WATCH LIST and a nomination alongside Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, and Sara Jessica Parker for the THE WOMEN'S FILM CRITICS CIRCLE Best Comedic Actress award. She is currently shooting for Netflix a new comedy EVERYTHING SUCKS due out this spring.
Katie is also the owner-operator of the beloved Acting For Kids & Teens program in Portland, where she mentors aspiring artists.
CREATIVE CODER, SCIENTIST, DESIGNER
Mike Baran is a freelance experience designer and researcher who collaborates with product design agencies to improve experiences across interfaces and devices. He holds a PhD in Media Arts and Sciences where his graduate work explored using interactive media and motion capture to improve the recovery process for stroke survivors.
When he is not learning how people work and play with technology, Mike loves using creative coding to build interactive art installations, such as for the Portland Art Hack Day, to engage people to think critically in playful ways.
POETRY SLAM CHAMP
Alex Dang is the only member in history to be on the Portland Poetry Slam nationals team four years in a row. Also a TedX speaker, his work has been viewed on Youtube over 2 million times and has been shared by Upworthy, Huffington Post, and more. On any given day you can find him eating a burger or on a stage doing poems.
PRODUCING ARTISTIC DIRECTOR, PORTLAND ACTORS CONSERVATORY
Beth designs the curriculum for both the Studio and Conservatory training programs, teaches several acting classes, selects the season of plays, and directs on of the season’s productions.
An award-winning actor, Beth has been involved in local, regional and national theatre for the past 25 years. She was most recently seen in Artists Repertory Theatre's Circle Mirror Transformation.
She has toured Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East with Arts America, and performed in a Northwest tour of Voice of the Oregon Trail. Among her many awards, Beth received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Drammy Award Ceremony.
ILLUSTRATOR & PERFORMER
Gary Hirsch is an improv performer, street artist, doodler of robots www.botjoy.com and the co-founder of On Your Feet www.oyf.com, a consultancy that uses improvisation to help organizations generate new ideas, collaborate, engage audiences and walk their talk...all while having a ridiculously good time. Gary's creation - Botjoy - is a worldwide viral art movement that demonstrates how art can be surprising, delightful, and helpful. His giant street art murals and over 39,000 published tiny robots are "programmed" to give you outrageous compliments, help you be brave, take the blame, inspire you, even clone you so you can get more done.
AUTHOR & ENTREPRENEUR
With a degree in journalism and poetry, Jen has put her creativity to good use in her successful wedding services business and with two published books. Jen has been seen on TODAY show, Good Morning America, CNN and Fox News, telling her story.
Here were our speakers from 2017. Expect for our next event to have these calibre of speakers!