Arlton Lowry is not your average event planner. For one, he's a 31-year-old web designer with plug earrings and a big beard, who works from home in Little Rock, or wherever he feels like working. He's also not in it for the money. Several years ago, before he started organizing conferences, he sold his car to raise money to open a communal workspace for programmers and entrepreneurs in Conway. It didn't work out, but he wasn't bothered. He seems genuinely more concerned with community building and inspiring people to think differently.
On Saturday, May 4, his latest event, Made By Few, will do what city leaders have long salivated over — bring tech-savvy, entrepreneurial folks from all over the country to the Clinton Presidential Center. The gist of the tech conference is simple: five speakers — one designer, one developer, one entrepreneur, one "inspiring person" and someone from Arkansas — and a whole lot of mixing and mingling.
Crystal Beasley is the Arkansas speaker. She's a Paragould native, who's currently working as a senior UX designer (user interface) at Mozilla. Aaron Draplin, of Draplin Design Co., who's perhaps most known for his Field Notes series of notebooks, will fill the inspirational position. Jake Nickell, one of the co-founders of the crowd-sourced design company Threadless, which prints designs chosen by its online community on T-shirts and other items, is the entrepreneur. James White, a Nova Scotian graphic designer who's done work for Google, Nike and Toyota, is the designer. And Micah Baldwin will fill the developer slot. He's the CEO of Graphicly, an automated platform for publishing digital, especially visual, content.
It's all about "putting people in a room together and getting them inspired," Lowry said. "Conferences happen all the time. This isn't going to be your normal conference. This is going to be something that shakes your bones. There are going to be some people who leave thinking differently."
The conference runs from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Local 3D printer company QU-BD will be on hand with 3D printers churning out Made By Few swag. The $125 ticket includes pastries in the morning and lunch. It also gets attendees into a Friday night event, Designed by Few, where three Arkansas designers will conceive a brand concept and a logo for the North Little Rock non-profit Art Connection in a timed competition in front of a live audience. The event, open only to Made By Few ticket-holders, happens at 7 p.m. in the Bill and Margaret Clark room of the Ottenheimer Hall in the River Market. Jeremy Teff, Brittany Hallmark and the Times' own Bryan Moats are the competitors. Will Collins of Fayetteville's Archetype Productions; Chris Kendrick, senior art director at Stone Ward; and Matt Owen, CJRW art director, will judge.
On Saturday, after the conference, the Argenta Arts Foundation is sponsoring an after-party by the submarine in North Little Rock. There'll be an open bar, hors d'oeuvres and music by Bonnie Montgomery and Justin Vinson. It starts at 7 p.m.
More info at madebyfew.com.