Patrick Harris’ reputation for kindness and generosity precedes him. As a major part of a local brain trust that supports and cultivates local creatives Harris has helped creatives of color open doors that used to be closed to them in this region. As president of Collectiveffort Harris leads a marketing firm and digital production house that amplifies local voices and works with major national brands. 

To hear more about how he made his way in the region check out the latest episode of Collabcast. For more on his thoughts on the evolution on the local arts scene check out out the interview that follows. 

What was the last live performance you attended? Last month during Troy Night Out, The Age was at Franklin Alley. He’s probably the most “ready” local musician for the industry. 

Name one local creative everyone needs to know. Jamel Mosely.

What is a locally produced art, craft, clothing item or delicacy you can’t live without? Any hat by David Reali of Lyf Supply is a must, he produced our company hats. 

What does “Creative Economy” mean to you? Overall I think it’s an extremely undervalued part of our society. It’s the part of our lives that fosters our experience with ourselves, our community and the physical environment which looks like festivals & exhibits we go to, creative spaces we work in, tv shows we talk about etc. that creates a chunk of our identity. Needless to say, it should be respected as such because without it, life would be pretty drab. So basically, it means culture and by extension the ability to create that culture which includes how people work, eat, sleep and own. It’s a way to create a path for yourself and take power over how you experience this world. 

What was the last project you oversaw to completion? Well if you mean a general project, then it was a project management training with my team. If you mean an art project, I did a short DJ series called “Wav.” on our team’s Soundcloud that was mainly a personal, self-care thing for me since most of my time has been in building our business. I released them on social, but mainly, I send it personally to friend’s who generally like my taste in music or friends who are heavy into self-care and usually looking for some kind of anti-anxiety music. I also just finished co-producing a film called “Lunamancer” with a friend from LA. It was his first feature-length and he wanted to do it in Troy. It was recently purchased by another producer and is being shopped around festivals. 

How can we overcome parochialism in the arts? Addressing the divide between creative communities across the cities, I say that we need to create more projects that make it possible for us to work together. Some would argue that we need a regional identity and vision to give us a foundation to build on, which I think is true in part.

Personally, I’ve learned that it’s better to get up and DO SOMETHING than to sit and wait to be told what to do, or for someone to tell you who you are or what you should be. And in that regard, I challenge any creative or group of creatives to find 5 other creatives or creative groups in the cities around you and have a meeting about your interests, goals, favorite brand of seltzer…anything!

Something cool may happen, or not, which is ok because the point is to get out and create a behavior of collaboration. It’s collabing that creates the capacity to take on huge opportunities that come to us, or the collaboration creates the opportunity itself…that’s how Collectiveffort happened. The part two to this answer is that folks need places to meet and work that cater to this kind of development which is a solution our team is working on in Troy right now.

What was the most important development for local arts in the last decade? The most important thing I think has helped the local arts was the preservation of the “why not us? Why not now?” attitude of the creatives in this region. We got tired of not having anything cool to do, and we got tired of hearing about these “great creative communities” like Austin, BK, San Fran etc. That attitude fueled folks to keep making things which made shop owners open up their spaces for us, which made creative publications a thing, which made ACE [Upstate Alliance for the Creative Economy] happen whose data is carving out a space for us at the regional economics level. This region has always been a place where everyday people can make things and everyone’s work should continue to preserve that. 

What arts event/performance should every resident of the Capital Region see this year? Performances by The Age, Girl Blue, Ohze, Katani, any event that is DJ’d by Trumastr, Jamel ”intel” or TGIF. Definitely go to Albany Barn’s Fusion event.

What local organization/artist/creative etc would be your dream collaborator? Would love to collaborate with WB Games, Velan Ventures, PUBG, Soul Fire Farms, Ecovative & every neighborhood association in Troy/Albany/Schenectady. 

What is the biggest change in the arts community you have observed over the course of your career in the Capital Region arts scene? People are starting to genuinely believe that it’s possible to make their own way here.