04/20/2012 06:47 pm ET Updated Jun 20, 2012

D.C.'s Search for the Next Steve Jobs & Other Artistic Pursuits

Have you ever wondered how we'll find the next Steve Jobs?

Well, this Thursday night, Washington D.C.'s creative thinkers, fashion lovers and art gallery set will converge at Capitol PechaKucha in Georgetown to figure out how.

Richard Boly, the chief visionary for "e-diplomacy" at the Department of State, will explain how education must change for American students to become--like Steve Jobs--more innovative, non-conforming thinkers.

Boly is just one of eight creatives presenting transformative ideas this Thursday at The Water Street Project in Georgetown (see list below). D.C. Urbanistas attending this month's PechaKucha event will be exposed to the city's latest efforts to boost its creative drive from a variety of perspectives. We'll hear new ideas from professional breakdancers, fashion "incubators," curators, furniture designers and installation artists.

So what is PechaKucha, anyway?

The onomatopoeic Japanese term for "chit-chat" or "conversation," PechaKucha represents an evening of learning and inspiration for local-area designers, architects, artists, musicians and even ordinary people such as myself, who seek insight into the work and vision behind finished projects.  

The brainchild of Tokyo-based architects Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein, PechaKucha was started in 2003 to serve as a forum for creative thinkers to mingle and expose their work to the public.

The artistic movement has since migrated from Tokyo to every continent across the globe, with localized PechaKucha forums taking place in more than 500 cities worldwide, spanning from Chicago to Beirut, Tasmania, London, Beijing, Nairobi, Zagreb and most recently, Tehran.  

Washington, D.C. joined the PechaKucha art movement in 2007, when ita Collection designers (and sisters) Bita and Rouzita Vahhabaghai decided to create and kick-start Capitol PechaKucha.

Besides the unique artistry, what makes PechaKucha presentations so special?  The forum's unique format: presenters are allowed to show 20 images for 20 seconds each -- no more, no less.  

So PechaKucha gives creatives a broad platform to cultivate and showcase their talents using a diverse array of media -- be it architecture, fashion design, graphics, film, music, the web, literature or photography -- and allows each presenter exactly six minutes and 40 seconds to do it.  Those of us lucky enough to attend leave PechaKucha abuzz with some cool, new knowledge (not to mention, good wine).

Thursday's forum will be Washington, D.C.'s 17th PechaKucha event, organized in partnership with the designers of ita Collection and No Kings Collective, a D.C.-based artist collective which has created and curated pop-up installations and exhibits for local artists throughout the city.


Richard Boly
Director, Office of eDiplomacy, U.S. Department of State 
Finding the Next Steve Jobs

Samuel dylan Scharf  
Installation Artist
Unexpected Spaces in Public Realms
Christine Brooks-Cropper
President, Greater Washington Fashion Chamber of Commerce
DC Fashion Incubator
Megan Mueller 
The Ephemeral
Laura Roulet 
Independent Curator
1x5, Curating Activate => Participate
Geoffrey Chang
Professional Break Dancer
Toyz of Zion 
James Kern
Artist/Furniture Designer Corehaus 
Douglas Retzler
Art and Effects