Made in the Middle Creative Conference is a two day event devoted to design and creativity with inspiring talks, workshops, vendors, music and plenty of that Kansas City charm.


All speakers and workshops are now announced below! See you this September.


Saturday, September 15th

Amber Goodvin

Lettering Artist + Illustration

Amber Goodvin is an artist in Kansas City. She fell in love with lettering while studying design + illustration at the University of Kansas. Her thirteen years at Hallmark have been a continual opportunity to play, learn & reinvent, while creating work that celebrates and connects people. Within Hallmark, Amber has had roles in product design, trends research, and social content development. Other passions include: Harry Potter, playing cards and her four children (two humans, two pugs.)

Dawn Hancock

Firebelly Design Founder & Managing Director

Dawn is a troublemaker, a bleeding heart, a designer by trade and a do-gooder by choice. Two things she likes: ideas and people. She’s been known to put them together in a room, just to see what happens. She started Firebelly in 1999 with a simple mission: Good Design for Good Reason™. Since then, she’s been diligent about hiring passionate overachievers, seeking out fearless allies and taking on projects with the potential to uplift communities and maybe even change the world. While she’s kept the team intentionally small, Dawn’s kept hustling to expand Firebelly’s reach and impact.

Steve Frykholm

Herman Miller, designer and AIGA Medalist

In 1970 Steve was employed at Herman Miller, their first internal graphic designer, and retired in 2015. He received Herman Miller’s highest recognition for an employee in 1986, The Carl F. Frost Award. In 2007 he received an AIGA Fellow, and in 2010 he received the AIGA Medal, the highest recognition from AIGA, the professional association for design. He’s recognized as an annual report legend in Graphis, and an American design icon in the 50th Anniversary Issue of Communication Arts

Mina Markham


Mina Markham

Senior Engineer at Slack

Mina Markham is a Senior Engineer at Slack. She’s a lover of design systems and prolific public speaker, appearing at events worldwide, including CSS Dev Conf, Fluent, and Future of Web Design. Mina also co-organizes Front Porch Conference.

Previously at Hillary for America, her work on the Pantsuit pattern library has been spotlighted in WIRED, Fast Company, and Communication Arts. Mina likes ampersands, Oreos, traveling, cupcakes, and the color pink. She lives in Oakland, California.

Andy J. Miller

Illustrator & Podcast Host

Andy J. Miller (AKA Andy J. Pizza) is an American illustrator and public speaker. He is the founder of the Creative Pep Talk podcast, which does what it says on the tin, gives pep talks to creative people! Creative Pep Talk, has been featured by Apple, BuzzFeed and Threadless. Creative Pep Talk the book was published by Chronicle Books in the Spring of 2017. His explosive color drenched illustrations have brought hope and smiles to clients like Nickelodeon, Google, The Boston Globe, Converse and Oreo. Andy and the Pizza family happily live in the great city of Columbus, OH.

Dana Tanamachi

Graphic Designer / Lettering Artist

Dana Tanamachi is a lettering artist and designer who enjoys living a quiet life and working with her hands. In 2009, an impromptu chalk installation for a Brooklyn housewarming party landed Dana her first commission for Google and set the popular chalk-lettering trend—and her career—in motion. After working under design icon Louise Fili, she opened Tanamachi Studio, a boutique design studio specializing in custom typography and illustration for editorial, lifestyle, food, and fashion brands.

Brian French

Lunch Session

Lunch Session


Brian French will talk about the history of French Paper including pitfalls, changes made, and their long relationship with the CSA Design Team. As French approaches their 150th anniversary, they started to gather and reflect on past printed materials and promotional items. Not wanting to keep their collection to themselves, The French Paper Road to 150 Tour was born. An exhibit made up of 30 plus years of historical items traveling the country, from city to city. Join The French Paper family over lunch for a lecture at Made in the Middle, and plenty of free samples we’re sure.

Tad Carpenter

Designer, Illustrator & Emcee of our Conference

Emcee of Conference


TAD CARPENTER IS a designer, illustrator, author and educator based in Kansas City, Missouri. Carpenter co-runs the design and branding studio, Carpenter Collective with his wife, Jessica where they have worked with clients ranging from Target, Coca-Cola, Macy’s, Old Navy, Conan O’Brien, Adobe and MTV among many others. Carpenter has worked with numerous bands on poster campaigns for over 10 years, as well as writing and illustrating over twenty children’s books in our marketplace today.

Jon Marzette

Conference DJ

Friday Party: 7pm-12am

Saturday: 9am-6pm

JON MARZETTE IS half of the acclaimed DJ duo, Ass Jamz with partner Cameron Birdsall. They have played shows all across the United States to sold out audiences everywhere they go. Jon, aside from being an acclaimed musician, is also a very talented artist, illustrator and designer.


Friday, September 14th

The What, How, and Why of Design Systems with Andrea Hock

$45 | 2:00pm-3:30pm

During this workshop Adobe Creative Resident, Andrea Hock will share methodologies for creating a successful design system. Design systems can help provide consistency, acceleration, and scale across your organization. Whether you already have a system set up or want to refine what you have, you’ll identify how to integrate and maintain one in your team’s workflow. This workshop is perfect for designers and students focusing on and interested in UI/UX Design.

Design Systems with Andrea Hock


Andrea Hock is an Adobe Creative Resident focusing on UI/UX Design. Previously a Visual Experience Designer working in Silicon Valley at Hewlett-Packard, she’s interested in the intersection between technology and design. Her residency project focuses on automation and how internet-connected objects can improve the human experience. Her creative passion is understanding and addressing everyday problems through design. She has worked on a range of HP’s products like the Sprout, FitStation, and JumpStart. She lives in St. Louis, MO.

Block Printing with Marisol Ortega

$75 | 9:00AM-12:00PM

This workshop is an introduction to Block Printing. We will be going over tools, techniques, and exploration with inks and papers. We will be creating unique repeating patterns and/or illustrations. In the first half of the workshop we will be doing a quick exercise in repeating patterns and sketching for our final piece. This workshop is perfect for attendees interested in: illustration, printmaking and working with their hands.

Sold Out

Block Printing with Marisol Ortega

9:00AM-12:00PM at The Kansas City Art Institute

Marisol Ortega is a jill-of-all-trades: designer, illustrator, pattern maker and letterer. Originally from the West Coast, she is currently living in the Midwest with her husband, daughter & kitties. Her fearless use of bright color ways, interesting texture and range of mediums makes her work stay fresh. Attendees will need: pencil, paper and any ideas you have.

Screen Printing Basics with Vahalla Studios

$75 | 9:00AM – 12:30PM

Attendees will cover the basics of the screen printing process. Topics such as burning screens, techniques, paper choices, ink and prepress will be discussed and explored. We will be preforming a hands on demo where attendees can pull a squeegee and get their hands dirty! Workshop will be held at Vahalla Studios, located at 805 E. 13th Ave. North Kansas City, MO. This workshop is perfect for attendees interested in: printmaking, graphic design, poster design.

Screen Printing Basics

9:00AM – 12:30PM at Vahalla Studios

Dan Padavic is the owner and operator of Vahalla Studios, a design and print shop that specializes in analog print techniques. He graduated from the University of Kansas in 2004 with a degree in Visual Communications, and has been running Vahalla since 2005. His work incorporates the knowledge and hand of a printmaker, combined with the sensibilities of a graphic designer, to produce works across numerous platforms for clients both large and small.

Hallmark Cards Archive Tour

$40 | Two Tour Times

The Hallmark Archives is comprised of several major collections: The Design Collection, the Master Artist Collection, Rare Books and Hallmark product to name only a few. The tour will provide an overview of the history of Hallmark, its current Art Collection, its products, and its design resources that are used to develop product today. Two tour time slots are available to choose from: 11:00am-12:00pm or 2:00pm-3:00pm.

Hallmark Cards Archive Tour

11:00am-12:00pm or 2:00pm-3:00pm at Hallmark Greeting Cards Corporate Entrance

For over 108 years Hallmark Greeting Cards has been working with the most talented artist and designers in world. This is your opportunity to see behind the Hallmarks Cards curtain and view their historic archive of work. Works by Salvador Dali, Saul Steinberg and Norman Rockwell to name a few.

Animation Basics with Allison Kerek

$45 | 9:00AM-12:00PM

If you’re an Illustrator or Designer who has always wanted to bring their work into world of animation, check out Allison’s workshop. During this 3 hour class, you will turn one of your own illustations/designs into a short looping animation, learn how to render your work for social media, discuss freelance animation, and talk about where to go to for inspiration. This workshop is perfect for artists who love Illustrator and Photoshop but have little to zero knowledge of After Effects and/or Photoshop’s timeline feature.

Sold Out

Animation Basics with Allison Kerek

9:00AM-12:00PM at The Kansas City Art Institute

Born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Allison currently works as a freelance illustrator and animator in Kansas City. She has worked on a range of animation projects including music videos, documentary work, social media gifs, and more. Her clients include Print Magazine, Nike, Hallmark Cards, Nylon Magazine, Accel and more. She currently shares a studio space with Dustin Williams. Allison has been teaching at the University of Central Missouri since 2015. Attendees will need: a computer with the Adobe Creative Cloud. Further instructions will come from Allison via e-mail.

Observant Creativity with Craig & Jessie Lueck

$45 | 9:00AM-10:30AM

Observant Creativity allows us to get to know ourselves and those around us better through three core themes – our heads, our hands and our hearts. It’s a simple model that we can see represented all over the place. This workshop will introduce the key ideas and themes around how people engage with their heads, their hands and their hearts, allow you to self-identify, and then apply this thinking to everyday scenarios. We will walk out of this together feeling warm and fuzzy, thinking about new ways to work together, and acting with empathy.

Observant Creativity

Craig Lueck, a Hallmark artist was born and raised in Wisconsin, and graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago. As a painter, illustrator and teacher, Craig is enlivened, by helping to connect people to their unique creative processes, and in helping them to become more observant. “Life may beat down and crush your soul, but art and beauty, reminds you that you have one.” Craig is a firm believer in taking time to reflect and appreciate life by being “all-in”, and by engaging with as much honesty of expression as is possible.

Jessie Lueck is passionate about human-centered design. A designer by trade and a problem solver at heart, Jessie works with business leaders and organizations to unleash their creative potential. At Hallmark, Jessie brings creativity into the world of HR and designs positive employee experiences by questioning the status quo, diving into user insights, and focusing on future growth. Jessie is motivated by authenticity and inclusion and believes everyone has a story to tell. Jessie graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Art.

Live Creative Pep Talk Podcast with Andy J. Miller

$5 | 12:15pm-1:15pm

Join illustrator Andy J. Pizza as he records a live episode of his popular podcast, Creative Pep talk. Andy will interview several creatives over the course of the episode and ask them: what’s your secret weapon for creative career breakthrough? All proceeds from this live taping will be donated to a charity (to be named later). This event is perfect for attendees who want to learn strategies and tactics for building a thriving creative career.

Live Creative Pep Talk Podcast

12:15pm-1:15pm at The Kansas City Art Institute

Andy J. Miller (AKA Andy J. Pizza) is an illustrator and public speaker based in Columbus, OH. He is the founder of the Creative Pep Talk podcast, which does what it says, gives pep talks to creative people! Creative Pep Talk, has been featured by Apple, BuzzFeed and Threadless. Creative Pep Talk the book was published by Chronicle Books in the Spring of 2017. His explosive color drenched illustrations have brought hope and smiles to clients like Nickelodeon, Google, The Boston Globe, Converse and Oreo. Join us for this fun live taping of his podcast with many creative guest being interviewed.

Micro Advocacy with Tyler Galloway

$45 | 1:30PM-4:30PM

This workshop will focus on making tiny movements on an issue to awaken, encourage, and inform. A brief intro to advocacy, activist/street art, and guerrilla advertising will inform quick making around an issue of each participant’s choice. We’ll consider provocative and succinct messages, facts, quotes, etc and determine unique contexts for placing those messages. Take-aways could either be micro-proposals to be done later or d.i.y. pieces that can be immediately deployed. Stencils, rub-down type, and photocopy alphabets will be provided. This workshop is perfect for attendees interested in: social change, graphic design, d.i.y. / analog design.

Sold Out

Micro Advocacy with Tyler Galloway

1:30PM-4:30PM at The Kansas City Art Institute

Tyler Galloway is an Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Graphic Design department at Kansas City Art Instutute. Having earned his BFA from Missouri State University and MGD from North Carolina State University, Tyler is passionate about design for social change. His recent professional work has centered on visual identity and support materials for “Stand Up KC”, Kansas City’s conception of the international low-wage worker movement. Attendees will need: an issue they are passionate about, along with some compelling statistics, stories, quotes, or any information they want to communicate about that issue. Please also bring, an xacto knife, sketchbook, pens and a small ruler.

Wall to Wall with Lance Flores

$75 | Two Class Times

Ever wanted to know how to take a small drawing and turn it into a wall mural? Whether you’re a small business owner looking to generate social media attention, or a homeowner with a flare for unique home design, this workshop is for you. Don’t miss this exclusive hands-on mural workshop, with award-winning designer Lance Flores. With 25+ murals under his belt, Lance has developed his career from a graphic designer into a local mural artist. During this class you’ll walk away with the skills to install a mural for your custom project. Registration includes all materials, a complete design and installation guide for your custom project and one-on-one coaching from Lance. You’ll even help develop a mural for our very own Made in the Middle Conference Opening Party! Two class times are available to choose from: 9:00am-12:00pm or 1:30pm-4:30pm.

Sold Out

Wall to Wall with Lance Flores

9:00am-12:00pm or 1:30pm-4:30pm at The Kansas City Art Institute

Lance Flores is a Kansas City-based designer, muralist and photographer. A graduate of the Kansas City Art Institute, he has been passionately pursuing his craft ever since. His client experience includes Nike, Budweiser, KC Royals, WeWork, Dairy Queen, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, Ball Canning, BALDWIN, Cole Haan, Music Bed, Sprint, Lufthansa Airlines, Manifesto, Ruby Jean’s Juicery and more. His work has been recognized in Cannes, Communication Art, Interior Design Magazine, Branding Served, Designsponge, Oh So Beautiful Paper, Trouvé Mag, Film + Music Magazine and others. Attendees will need to bring: pen, paper and enthusiasm.

Design for Beer with Frank Norton

$75 | 1:30PM-4:30PM

All good things start with beer—as will this class as Frank will present design work from Boulevard, then you’ll work through the process of designing beer packaging, with focus on concept and ideation. All participants should bring sketchbooks, pencils and a digital device (laptop or iPad). This workshop is perfect for attendees interested in: brand identity, packaging and well, beer.

Sold Out

Design for Beer with Frank Norton

1:30PM-4:30PM at the Boulevard Brewing Co Tours & Rec Building

Frank Norton is Kansas City based graphic designer and illustrator specializing in branding, identity, and packaging design. He’s worked as a designer for a handful of creative studios, adjunct professor at the Kansas City Art Institute, and is currently an in-house designer and art director for Boulevard Brewing Co. This workshop will be at Boulevard Brewing Co. Tours & Rec Building, located at 2534 Madison Ave, KCMO.

Sketching for Type Development with Josh & Lila

$75 | 1:30pm-4:30pm

Sketching out your idea for a typeface by hand is the best way to solidify a design before it is digitized. In this workshop, you will get a crash course in the preliminary stages of a typeface design with Hallmark typeface designers Lila Symons and Josh Scruggs. You will learn a variety of letter sketching techniques, how to develop a cohesive family of letters, and some common techniques type designers use in the next steps of vectorizing sketches. This workshop is perfect for attendees interested in: lettering, typeface design and illustration.

Sold Out

Sketching for Type Development


Lila Symons is a multidisciplinary typeface designer and lettering artist who specializes in the design and engineering of fonts for consumer goods and lifestyle brands. She works as a Font Designer for Hallmark Cards in Kansas City, Missouri where she creates proprietary typefaces based on handwriting, calligraphy, and lettering. Josh Scruggs is a Senior Font Designer at Hallmark Cards. In his 13-year-long career, he¹s created fonts in a wide range of styles‹casual and formal scripts, friendly sans serifs, expressive brush styles, and elegant display fonts, just to name a few. Having a love for all letter arts, he also practices hand lettering and calligraphy. Attendees will need to bring: Mechanical Pencil, tracing paper. Some additional supplies will be on hand.

Register for All
Workshops Here
A purchase of any workshop ticket is for that singular workshop only. This ticket does not include admission into the Saturday Conference nor the Friday night opening party. To attend either of these events, a full conference ticket must be purchased.


Platinum Level

Gold Level

Silver Level

Royal Blue Level


September 14


This year we have devoted an entire day to creative workshops. We will offer 10 workshops ranging from creative thinking, illustration, animation, packaging and so much more. Workshops will be hosted at The Kansas City Art Institute (unless otherwise noted). Tickets to each workshop are now on sale above.

Opening Party + Registration

Join us Friday evening for drinks, small plates, vendors and jams as we kick off the Made in the Middle Creative Conference with an amazing opening party at Messenger Coffee Co. Live music from DJ Jon Marzette will get us all in the mood as he spins from the rooftop.

September 15

Registration + Coffee

Registration will begin at 8:00am with coffee and pastries being served in the Bloch Lobby of The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Be sure to arrive early to enjoy—no food or drink will be allowed in the auditorium.

Lectures + Break Out Sessions

We will have 6 amazing speakers on Saturday, September 15 at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Lunch, access to the museum and parking at the museum will also be provided with the purchase of your ticket.



Register for the Conference + Workshops


Photograph by Colin Burke

On Saturday, The Made in the Middle Creative Conference will be located at the beautiful and historic Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Nelson-Atkins Bloch Building. Photograph by Roland Halbe.

The Nelson-Atkins Museum

is committed to nurturing excellence, inspiring creativity, and building community through the power of art. We encourage Made in the Middle guests to take breaks throughout the day and enjoy the award-winning campus and world-renowned permanent collection. Made in the Middle is honored to call the crown jewel of the midwest our home again in 2018 for all lectures Saturday, September 15th.

4525 Oak St
Kansas City, MO 64111
Photograph by Tal Wilson

On Friday, The Made in the Middle Creative Conference workshops will be located at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Photograph by Tal Wilson

Kansas City Art Institute

is a world renowned, 130 year-old institution that celebrates creativity and innovation. Many notable students attended class at the Kansas City Art Institute. Walt Disney took Saturday classes here as a child; painter, Thomas Hart Benton taught at KCAI and multimedia artist, Robert Rauschenberg studied fashion design at this fine institution. It will be an honor to call KCAI home for majority of our workshops Friday, September 14th.

4415 Warwick Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64111

On Friday evening, our opening party will be held at Messenger Coffee Co’s beautiful building and rooftop.


Messenger Coffee Co

Messenger Coffee Co is a high quality artisan coffee roasting company that supports farmers all over the world. Their new beautiful building and rooftop only support their second to none products. Our MITM opening party use all three floors of Messenger Coffee and will include cocktails, beer, coffee and small plates. Not to mention vendors and a rooftop dance party.

1624 Grand Blvd
Kansas City, MO 64108



AC Hotel

This sophisticated hotel is 1.1 miles from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. When booking a room, please mention our conference name as we have blocked many rooms with a discounted rate.

Intercontinental Hotel

This high-end hotel is located on the historic Country Club Plaza shopping district—1 mile from the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

Holiday Inn

Located 3 blocks from the historic Country Club Plaza, this hotel is only .2 miles The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. A great location with flexible rates and availability.


Joe’s KC

Arguably, KC’s best BBQ. Get the Z-Man, ribs, fries and pulled pork.

3002 W 47th St.
Kansas City, KS 66103

Port Fonda

Not your everyday Mexican food. You must try the Chimichanga.

4141 Pennsylvania Ave.
Kansas City, MO 64111

Boulevard Brewing Co.

This is Kansas City’s beer. Visit their Tours & Recreation building and Beer Hall that has daily test beers on tap.

2501 Southwest Blvd.
Kansas City, MO 64108

Stockyards Brewing

A relatively new brewery in the historic West Bottoms.

1600 Genessee St.
Kansas City, MO 64102

Jack Stack Barbecue

More Barbecue. Beautiful building & great food. Don’t sleep on the wings.

101 West 22nd St. Freight House
Kansas City, MO 64108
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