10West Celebrates Southwest Innovators in Downtown

October 20, 2015

CoLab, Startup Tucson's community workspace, advertises the events of 10West.

CoLab, Startup Tucson’s community workspace, advertises the events of 10West.

by Mariana Colín

Each year, Tucson seems bigger and brighter than the last. With the arrival of the Sun Link Streetcar, Downtown’s recent revitalization, and a growing number of small and local businesses, the possibilities of Tucson’s economic and cultural growth seem endless.

It makes sense then, to showcase all the economic and artistic innovation that Tucson fosters. 10West, happening all week through the 24th, is doing just that. The first annual festival is a project of Startup Tucson, whose missions is to support new and growing businesses all around the city. Tony Ford, Vice President of Marketing at Startup Tucson, says the idea for 10West was inspired by Tucson’s clear economic upturn and the chance Startup Tucson saw to bring it all together in a festival as fun, smart, ambitious, and artistic as the ideas the festival will showcase.

It’s a “festival,” but as Tony points out, the word doesn’t quite describe the event. “Conference” doesn’t really do it either. What it really is, he says, is a “celebration of innovation.”

Hotel Congress will host a night of music by some of Tucson's most loved artists.

Hotel Congress will host a night of music by some of Tucson’s most loved artists.

“This is really a less about creating something new and more about bringing together all the great things we have going on in Tucson and just branding it,” he says.

The event will unite both the veterans and new kinds of Tucson business, technology, and art, allowing them to share ideas, showcase their accomplishments, and share their work with the general public (the “10” in 10West, by the way, is actually an acronym standing for “Technology,” Entrepreneurship,” and “New Creative Class,” the three different topics that comprise the focus of the event).

10West kicked off Monday with a conference at the U of A, framing the goal of 10West with a discussion of how to move Tucson’s economy forward through business. The events, happening all over Downtown throughout the week, will include career-boosting information and networking for business professionals, but for those who trend more toward the geeky side of things (FIX), there will be panels and demonstrations surrounding things like 3D printing, virtual reality, and the latest developments in special effects.

The Rialto Theatre will host several 10West events.

The Rialto Theatre will host several 10West events.

Toward the end of the week, Hotel Congress will host 10West’s music showcase, with 8 local Tucson bands playing on both the indoor and outdoor stages on Friday night. And finally, 10West will culminate with the 10West Art Walk. The quirky, fun music and art that creates the aesthetic of Tucson will be on display and for sale along E. Toole Ave. from 5 p.m. to midnight.

“We want to expand this into something that’s more like South by Southwest,” says Tony. “The goal eventually is to encompass everything going on in October and package it as 10West.” In the future, he hopes to see October become a defining month for the art, business, and technology communities of Tucson, seeing 10West begin with Tucson Meet Yourself and end with the All Souls Procession in November.

Hopefully, 20 years from now you can reminisce about how you went to 10West when it was just starting, before all the massive crowds that traveled across the country to get a taste of the Tucson lifestyle. For now, though, you can enjoy this celebration of Tucson’s growing economy in its first year, learning, sharing, and contributing to the building excitement for Tucson’s future. For information about tickets and a schedule of all the events during 10West, click here.