Doug McCraw, art collector and founder of the Fort Lauderdale, Florida, arts district FATVillage, will discuss “The Creative Entrepreneur: The Nexus of Art and Technology” during the Helen Crow Mills and John Carroll Mills Lecture at 11 a.m. Friday, Oct. 21, in room 3111 of the Ferguson Center on The University of Alabama campus.
The lecture is free and open to the public.
McCraw, an Alabama native and University of Alabama graduate in marketing and advertising, developed FATVillage out of a warehouse district in 1999. The village, composed of more than 100,000 square feet of buildings, has been transformed into a community of creative tech companies, artists, galleries, theatres, studios and other arts-centric businesses. The primary focus is art, design and technology.
“The whole idea of FATVillage was to look at that nexus point where art and technology merge,” McCraw said. “And there definitely is a point where that happens.”
To name just a few familiar intersections between art and technology, McCraw listed web design, app design, software for creative applications, advertising and graphics design, public relations, film production, graphics and photography, printing and design and architecture.
McCraw also plans to talk about an offshoot company called Art + Light + Space Studios, which was created in the FATVillage environment.
“The type of creative thinking that makes these businesses successful permeates every discipline you can think of,” McCraw said. “When we’re working on new projects in this environment, it is a highly charged and creative environment.”
Before FATVillage, McCraw was the founder of DAS Records and Data Storage, a South Florida company acquired by Iron Mountain Group in 1996. He is active in the venture capital community and has also been involved with The University of Alabama, serving on two boards and The President’s Cabinet.
The Mills lectureship was established and endowed in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences by Helen Mills Pittman and her late husband, Dr. John Mills, of Birmingham, to bring successful and distinguished alumni and citizens to campus to speak as a way to motivate and inspire students.
Helen Mills received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Human and Environmental Sciences at UA in 1959. She is president of Crow Real Estate and Insurance Co. in Birmingham and a longtime member of the Leadership Board of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences.
John Mills received his bachelor’s degree in pre-dental studies from the College of Arts and Sciences in 1955 and a dentistry degree from UA’s School of Dentistry in Birmingham in 1958. He practiced endodontics for 29 years and was a diplomat of the American Board of Endodontics.
Mills was a pioneer in endodontics in Alabama and the only board certified endodontist in private practice in Alabama for many years. After leaving private practice, Mills became director of the endodontic program at UA’s School of Dentistry in Birmingham.