Sometimes it can feel like social media is a dumping ground, but Dallasite Merrick Porcheddu wants to cut through the noise and give artists and other North Texas creatives a virtual space to show their talents and share their skills.
So she devised CreateGate, a social networking app designed to function as a mobile directory of Dallas-Fort Worth's native talent, spanning from actors and artists to chefs and venues. It's set to launch on May 16.
"We are not trying to replace your Instagram or Facebook account," says Porcheddu. "We are trying to enhance the artists’ reach to the local consumer, while keeping the main news feed filled with beautiful, aesthetically pleasing posts ... as opposed to your best friend’s kid’s vomit taking up prime real estate on your feed. That always makes my thumb want to scroll a little faster."
"Fanatics," as the general public is known on CreateGate, can browse the iOS app for free once it's live, but officially being a part of it requires a little more work.
To display your photography portfolio or tout the charms of your oh-so-hip event space, you'll need an invite and approval from the "curations squad," made up of DFW trendsetters and in-the-know arts enthusiasts such as Imprint founder Matt Alexander, Art Conspiracy executive director Erica Felicella, and Weld founder Austin Mann.
Porcheddu herself is on the squad, having been the co-creator of the annual Artist vs. Architect events (the next Dallas showdown is scheduled for October). She also used to manage the Deep Ellum coworking space Common Desk, the hub of so many innovations, so bringing folks together — albeit this time online — comes naturally to her.
"The greatest compliment I ever received was when someone once told me I was the Theo to their Vincent Van Gogh," says Porcheddu. "My No. 1 goal in life is to encourage all artists everywhere to explicitly express their innate gifts, which has the sobering possibility of marking history forever."
For now, the app is free for all to use, but once version 2.0 rolls out later this year, there will be a $12.99 per month option for the creatives and venues to sync their bank accounts and sell items through the app.
The app is only the first step, however. There are plans for a limited-edition CreateGate editorial magazine (both digital and hardback) to hit later this year, celebrating some of the most influential creatives in DFW and sold "only in the swankiest boutiques of Dallas."
Expansion plans are also on the docket, and first on the list? Austin, naturally.
"Paint your legacy in this life and leave its footprints on CreateGate," encourages Porcheddu on the app's website. Or, as the app's tagline goes, "discover and be discovered."