By Claire Salinas
The Creative Bloc in downtown Baton Rouge offers a one-stop shop for creative professionals to operate their businesses.
“Generally creative businesses are all small shops somewhere, or the owners are working out of their homes,” said director and Launch Media mastermind John Jackson. “The Creative Bloc is creating a space where people can go and get support.”
Jackson has always been interested in supporting the arts, serving for three years on the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge. His wife, Fairleigh Jackson, received her degree in ceramics from LSU and spent time as the development director for the LSU Museum of Art, so their commitment to the advancement of the arts is clear.
“Your environment has to be somewhere inspiring, from a creative standpoint, for you to do what you to do well.” – John Jackson
“One of my degrees is in photography so I’ve always been interested in the arts,” said Jackson. “I think it’s important for the community of Baton Rouge to have a vibrant art scene. Whether it be creating or looking at art, supporting the arts is something that is very important to my wife and I.”
Tenants at Creative Bloc have access to services that are all necessary for running a small business. Some of them include multimedia conference rooms with full AV setup, a fiber internet connection, access to a fully-equipped production studio, private networks, a shipping center, a members-only rate card for discounted creative services and access to copy, fax and other office machines. Jackson explained the facility “offers a sense of place, for collaboration and community, a place that clients want to come to and a creative place.”
Elizabeth Hutchison is the director of the Baton Rouge branch of NOVAC: BR, a media arts nonprofit, which is a current tenant of Creative Bloc.
“Our experience has been fantastic,” said Hutchison. “Everything we need is right at our fingertips, from the space to host our classes, to the collaborative neighbor who can help with a shoot, to the supportive community.”
Creative Bloc is not a typical office space. Jackson explained that even the environment of the office is specifically geared towards creative professionals.
“We use a lot of color and artwork in the space,” said Jackson. “Your environment has to be somewhere inspiring, from a creative standpoint, for you to do what you to do well. We have quite a bit of artwork in the space and a lot of is from local artists both here and in New Orleans.”
Jackson revealed that another dynamic that sets Creative Bloc apart is its harmonious environment.
“Because this is a collaborative environment and space is limited, it’s important we have trustworthy businesses that have good energy and great people working in them,” said Jackson. “I don’t want direct competitors in here, that’s why you have to apply. We want to keep the good energy up.”
Collin Richie has been running his own photography business for 10 years in Baton Rouge and has recently become a tenant at Creative Bloc.
He explains the draw for him was being around other creative professionals.
“I’m getting increased levels in closing contracts and I think part of it comes from my association with Creative Bloc,” said Richie. “There’s definitely an energy, if you walk around you are surrounded by art and you can definitely tell it’s for creative professionals. It’s funny because a lot of us who are in there knew each other previously because the creative world is very small in Baton Rouge.”
Jackson explained the vision of Creative Bloc is more about giving people the resources they need to do what they do well rather than helping them grow.
“We’re not an incubator, so the vision is more about looking at all the information you have in front of you and making the best decision,” said Jackson. “It’s a place we can support and be supported professionally and creatively, and a place we can have fun doing what we do.”
For more information about Creative Bloc you can access their website at thecreativebloc.org or call their office at 225-612-2112.