Fairhaven senior holds Western Pop Culture Conference
By Lea Hogdal
A Western Pop Culture Conference held at Fairhaven college on Saturday, Oct. 29, brought together a community of artists and fan-culture lovers alike.
The comic-con style conference featured 27 artists and had a separate room hosted by the Rook & Rogue Board Game Pub. Forty-five minute panels were held throughout the day that touched on themes like marketing strategies, fantasy book writing and live-play podcasts.
This event was created by Breanna Todd as her senior project and a capstone for what she has been studying, her major being branding within business and fan culture. Her goal was to use branding and marketing to bring communities together.
Elly Ortland, a recent Western graduate, had her own booth showcasing her art.
“This event was a really approachable experience for me to figure out the business side of everything. Setting up a display, ordering my prints, figuring out how I wanted to show everything. For a first show this is the ideal experience,” she said.
Ortland said that because many of the other vendors had more experience she was able to learn from and network with them. Panelists gave her marketing advice and she even had a vendor reach out to her as a possible mentor with advice for getting involved as an illustrator and board game artist.
Since working the event Todd has made connections with important people within her line of work, including the marketers of Emerald City Comic Con who she will be shadowing during a comic con in March. Todd hopes this opportunity may lead to a future job.
“The best part has been getting accepted in the community by all those people,” Todd said, referring to other fan-culture marketers.
Other students praised this event as a good way to network and learn the ropes. Adam Hockemeyer, a senior at Western, and two other fellow seniors spent the day demoing their soon to be released board game, Ivion. This event allowed the team a chance to publicize their product.
“We are in the final stages of development and trying to show it to as many people as possible,” Hockemeyer said.
Todd cast her net out far, reaching out to over 400 vendors. Some of these vendors were fellow Western students or local artists, but she also landed some bigger names that traveled from other towns and even states. To help fund this project, Todd applied for several grants on campus including one that gives up to $500 and another fairhaven specific grant that gives up to $100.